Navajo and Hopi Households Reduction Fund reinforces diligence in PPE utilization to forestall additional unfold of COVID-19 | Sedona.Biz
CH’ÍHOOTSOOÍ, DINÉTAH (Window Rock, Navajo Nation) (April 7, 2021) – While many Navajo and Hopi tribesmen have recently been vaccinated, the Navajo & Hopi Families COVID-19 Relief Fund continues to encourage the use of personal protective equipment (PPE) step up provision of PSA distributions in Navajo and Hopi countries.
“Providing PPE to our relationships remains a top priority in our sales efforts,” said Ethel Branch, interim executive director of the relief fund. “Wearing double masks and disinfecting your hands are basic but effective measures to minimize the spread of COVID-19. This is especially important right now when we find ourselves in that mysterious time from March to May when we don’t know if our country contains COVID or if we are going to see a fourth wave. “
Both the US Federal Drug Administration and the Center of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have advocated the use of PPE to reduce the spread of the virus between people, along with other infection control measures such as hand disinfection.
In the past 19 weeks, the Relief Fund has made 243 PPE distributions in approximately 32 tribal communities. The sum of these distributions includes the distribution of over 93,000 adult PSA kits and over 7,200 pediatric PSA kits.
On March 15, the Relief Fund launched a sales campaign for children’s PPE kits to complement the distribution of adult PPE.
Shandiin Herrera, Relief Fund board secretary and head of the sales team for Monument Valley, Utah, noted that adults were taking their children to PPE distributions and requesting PPE for them.
“I felt bad that we only had adult PPE,” said Herrera. “I’ve seen children wearing oversized masks and then I got the idea to develop and distribute PPE kits for children.”
It took a month to put the contents of the children’s PSA kit together. These include: disposable child-sized masks, hand sanitizer, colored pencils, and a safety-related coloring book translated into both English and Navajo.
“We started the children’s kit rollout for the anniversary of the relief fund, which was significant,” said Herrera. “We were very excited to bring these kits to the community, and so far we’ve gone through much of the inventory.”
“Providing these kits gives you a sense of responsibility,” she said. “It feels great to give kids a dynamic way to learn appropriate safety measures.”
While the Nation Nation has no plans to reopen school learning until the end of 2021, the Navajo Nation Department of Dine Education (DODE) presented plans to reopen to the 24th Navajo Nation Council in March.
According to a DODE press release on March 19, the reopening plan is a collaboration between the Navajo Nation Health Operations Command Center (HCOC) and DODE based on the CDC’s best practice guidelines.
“Our efforts to protect our relatives and communities include protecting our children as decisions are made on their behalf to return to classroom learning. We don’t want the choice to be made in class or not at all, which unfortunately is the case with families struggling with internet connectivity, ”said Branch. “If it is decided our children go back to school, we want them to have the PPE they need to protect themselves and their families.”
Over the past few weeks, the Navajo Nation Department of Health has reported a steady downward trend in the number of confirmed cases of COVID-19. However, on March 30, the HCOC reported the first confirmed COVID-19 case of the country’s B.1.1.7 variant, often referred to as the UK variant and considered highly transmissible by the CDC.
Relief Fund deputy director Cassandra Begay reiterated tribal nations must not abandon their guards despite recent vaccine introductions.
“We are now seeing the B.1.1.7 variant spread and it is imperative that we continue to double-mask and disinfect our hands and our surroundings as a basic form of protection against the virus,” Begay said.
The Aid Fund’s PSA distributions, which are posted on the Fund’s Facebook and social media websites, are fully open to the public and do not require any chapter or tribal affiliation for the service.
“Because of this, our events serve more than just the host communities,” said Begay.
The PSA distributions are completely touchless. Aid Fund volunteers fill out admission forms on mobile pad devices. Recipients will be asked to keep their windows open and will also have the option to scan a QR code and fill out the forms themselves.
Volunteers do not reach into vehicles and only place PPE kits in open truck beds or hatchbacks opened by the operator. If neither is the case, kits are hung on the rearview mirror for recipients to retrieve after they step away from the event area.
Distributions like this take place in the Hopi Nation as well.
Hopi Foundation associate director Samantha Honani said the foundation’s emergency relief team has made diligent efforts to protect the Hopi communities, including partnering with the relief fund.
“Through our partnership, we have been able to distribute weekly PPE kits to individuals and families either at our grocery stores or at specific locations in Hopi,” said Honani. “Participating in distributions shows that our community needs PPE as many of our employees remain vigilant in protecting themselves from the virus. We are grateful for the successful cooperation with the relief fund. “
In addition to empowering communities with PPE, food and water, Branch said the relief fund will also focus on long-term sustainability and economic recovery. “We want to ensure that our communities are pandemic-proof and resilient to climate change in the long term.”
“We have exhausted our COVID relief funds by organizing and supporting these critical events to protect our communities. But there is still a lot to do, ”she said. “We are grateful for the support and generosity of everyone who donated to our GoFundMe campaign, which is having a huge impact on protecting our nations.”
The Relief Fund thanks the efforts of all volunteers, partners, and donors who have contributed to the success of the distribution effort.
Please visit http://navajohopisolidarity.org to learn more about the Navajo & Hopi Families’ COVID-19 Relief Fund and to make a donation for their COVID relief efforts.