Navajo and Hopi Relief Fund provides critical aid during second Delta surge
Delta Relief Program provides assistance to families affected by COVID-19 on reservation
CH'ÍHOOTSOOÍ, DINÉTAH, Ariz. — In a race against the rapid spread of COVID-19 precipitated by the summer surge of the more easily transmissible Delta variant, Yee Ha’ólníi Doo d/b/a Navajo & Hopi Families COVID-19 Relief Fund implemented a Delta Relief Program to prevent the spread of the virus on the Navajo and Hopi nations.
The Delta Relief Program provides on-demand humanitarian assistance to Navajo and Hopi families living on the two nations that have an active case of COVID and need to isolate, or have a member who has been exposed to an active case and needs to quarantine as a precautionary measure.
“Our decision to launch this second wave of COVID relief Sept. 1 came in response to the rapid doubling of weekly new cases on Navajo and Hopi during July and August,” said Ethel Branch, Yee Ha’ólníi Doo executive director. “But we haven’t seen many requests for assistance. We are really concerned that more people are not asking for assistance when they need it. Please help us spread the word that help is available to sick or exposed families.”
Since the program’s inception, 152 requests for assistance have been fulfilled across the Navajo Nation and three requests have been fulfilled on the Hopi Nation. Last week the organization received 35 help requests, which is the most they have received in one week. However, as of Nov. 12, Navajo Nation’s weekly case count was at 714 new COVID cases.
The Delta Relief Program provides two weeks’ worth of food, water, and PPE to families in isolation or quarantine. The special Isolation PPE Kit provided as part of this Program includes 2 oximeters, 2 contactless thermometers, KN95 masks, disinfectants, a vaporizer and other items needed to alleviate symptoms. The program also provides pet food and whatever else the family needs to be able to stay home.
“Our goal with this program is to allow sick or exposed families to safely and comfortably remain at home for the duration of their isolation or quarantine period,” Branch said. “This both protects that family during their time of great need and difficulty, and protects our broader community by preventing the spread of COVID.”
“We understand the urgency in these situations and are usually able to provide relief within a few hours,” said Mary Francis, program manager for the Delta Relief Program. “We have six phenomenal teams located throughout the Navajo Nation that are able to respond quickly to both Navajo and Hopi households, and we are continuing to build our staffing as we head into the winter. Please, if you need help isolating or quarantining, call us. We want to help you during this difficult time.”
As part of their Delta Relief Program, Yee Ha’ólníi Doo is also providing PPE Kits to elders in collaboration with Navajo and Hopi senior centers. So far the organization has provided 506 PPE Kits to eight senior centers and another 310 PPE Kits with oximeters and contactless thermometers went out to four senior centers this week.
Yee Ha’ólníi Doo is also collaborating with Navajo and Hopi schools to provide PPE to children, who can unwittingly serve as vectors for COVID-19 by bringing the virus home to loved ones. To help prevent this, Yee Ha’ólníi Doo is providing schools with children’s masks, hand sanitizer, and other items needed to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and to educate families about how they can protect themselves during the pandemic. This week items went out to seven schools that requested assistance.
To keep families with elders and children home, well-fed, and equipped with PPE for the upcoming holiday, Yee Ha’ólníi Doo worked with chapters and volunteers to provide 1,000 families with holiday food boxes in over 17 communities on the Navajo and Hopi nations this week.
“As we see our weekly case numbers now tripling, and observe a second wave of Delta underway, it is urgent that we get as much PPE to our people as quickly as possible to help keep them safe and prevent the spread of COVID in our communities. I am so pleased with the hard work of our staff to get PPE to our most vulnerable, our elders and children, this week.” said Cassandra Begay, Yee Ha’ólníi Doo deputy director, who also manages Yee Ha’ólníi Doo’s PPE Program and is coordinating efforts to get PPE to senior centers and schools.
Efforts like Yee Ha’ólníi Doo’s Delta Relief Program and PPE program provide critical assistance in the battle against COVID-19.
“But the best protection as a community against the spread of the virus is for everyone to get fully vaccinated and boosted as soon as they are eligible,” a press release from the organization said. “Unfortunately Navajo Nation is only 57 percent vaccinated, which is a far cry from herd immunity.”
Branch said the hope is to rise above the pandemic and stop the continued spread of COVID-19 within the communities.
“But this can only be achieved when we’re all vaccinated,” Branch said. “However, as the virus continues to infect and hospitalize our Navajo and Hopi relatives, we’ll continue to face the challenges of COVID relief head-on and assist those who need help because we can’t stand to lose one more elder, or any relation, to this deadly virus.”
In the first wave of COVID relief, Yee Ha’ólníi Doo provided food, water and PPE to over half a million Navajo and Hopi tribal members and provided 4,422 elders with winter heating supplies. It also provided hand washing stations to 897 households that lack running water.
If you have COVID-19 or were recently exposed to a confirmed COVID case, call Yee Ha’ólníi Doo’s hotline at (833) 956-1554 or submit an online help request at https://bit.ly/nhdeltarelief.
Any Navajo or Hopi school needing similar assistance can apply for help at https://bit.ly/nhschoolrelief.
Information provided by Navajo and Hopi Families Relief Fund