FARMINGTON – Tribal leaders issued a call for medical volunteers and additional donations of personal protective equipment Wednesday as COVID-19 continued its spread across the Navajo Nation.
A celebrity-studded public service announcement by Protect the Sacred – a grassroots group organized in response to the growing COVID-19 crisis on the Navajo Nation – called for financial donations and donations of personal protective equipment, such as masks, gowns, gloves and face shields.
The video featured Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez, Director of Native Renewables Wahleah Johns, anti-domestic violence activist Radmilla Cody, Ellen DeGeneres, Mark Ruffalo, Debra Messing, Mark Hammill and other celebrities.
“Dear America, 150 years ago we made a promise that the beautiful citizens of the Navajo Nation would be cared for the same way all Americans are, to give the first people of this land the respect and dignity we’ve owed them for a long time,” the celebrities said in the video.
The Navajo Department of Health, Navajo Epidemiology Center and the Navajo Area Indian Health Service reported 85 new cases and six additional deaths related to COVID-19 on Tuesday, bringing the total to 2,559 positive cases and 79 deaths. The agencies report a total of 15,651 tests have been administered with 11,609 negative test results.
Protect the Sacred is helping to organize donations of medical supplies, financial support and medical volunteers to the Navajo Nation at www.protectthesacred.care. Alaska Airlines is also offering free round-trip flights for medical volunteers traveling to provide COVID-19 support.
San Juan College announced Wednesday it will host a supply donation drive Friday, Saturday and May 11-16 for the Navajo Nation. A semitrailer will be parked on the main campus between the West Classroom Complex and the Henderson Fine Arts Center Building to collect donations.
The Navajo Nation is requesting liquid hand soap, paper products (paper towels, toilet paper and tissue), non-perishable food, bottled water, baby necessities (formula, diapers and wipes) and dog and cat food. Tribal leaders have asked donors to bring only supplies from the list.
The college has created a “contactless” donation system where donors can remain in their cars, open their trunks and a helper will remove the donations. Donors can also remove the items from the vehicle and return to their vehicle before the helper arrives.
“The Navajo Nation has been devastatingly impacted by the coronavirus,” said Danielle Sullivan, an associate professor at the college who is organizing the donation drive. “We hope this drive will be an opportunity to demonstrate our commitment to the success of all our students and the giving spirit of San Juan College employees.”