By Associated Press - Thursday, December 10, 2020

FARMINGTON, N.M. (AP) - Navajo health officials are working to boost the number of isolation and alternate care sites for those infected with the coronavirus.

The tribe had awarded a $50 million contract to Pacific Architects and Engineers Inc. and AMI Expeditionary Healthcare in October to operate alternate care sites and to provide clinical and logistical support, the Farmington Daily Times reported Tuesday.

The locations will be designated specifically for those who have tested positive for the coronavirus to prevent household spread, the Office of the President and Vice President said in a statement.

There have been 18,575 new confirmed cases and 693 confirmed deaths from the coronavirus in the Navajo Nation since the pandemic began, according to the Navajo Department of Health.

The number of infections is thought to be far higher because many people have not been tested, and studies suggest people can be infected with the virus without feeling sick.

For most people, the new coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough that clear up in two to three weeks. For some - especially older adults and people with existing health problems - it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia, and death.

An alternate care site has been set up in Chinle and isolation sites have been arranged in hotels in Farmington and Gallup. Additional sites will open in Tuba City and Holbrook.

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