5K Masks Sent to Navajo Nation

July 20, 2020
COVID-19 Response

The Navajo Nation was among the hardest hit communities in the United States when the pandemic emerged earlier this year.

As Tuba City Regional Health Care (TCRHC) transitioned from just six ICU beds to responding to one of the first coronavirus hot spots, they, like other health care providers, faced challenges finding personal protective equipment (PPE) and had to instruct some medical staff to use their N-95 masks “until it fell apart,” said Tanya “T.J.” Riggs, TCRHC’s director of program development.

Through a connection created by Valley Leadership’s Impact Maker Covid-19 Response Team, Honeywell has donated 5,000 N-95 masks to TCRHC, allowing them to build up their supply of PPE (personal protective equipment).

The approval came through the same day as the request, said Covid-19 Response Impact Team Chair Clint Houston, adding: “We were thrilled.”

Using their networks to “cut through the noise” has been one way the team has worked to help during this crisis and get critical supplies in the hands of those in need faster.

Members of the tuba city regional health care staff with N-95 masks donated from Honeywell.

“We knew Honeywell was responding to the crisis by pivoting some manufacturing to produce N-95 masks here in Phoenix,” Houston said. “Through the Valley Leadership network, we were able to…ask Honeywell for their support to the Navajo Nation, giving them frontline contacts in hopes some masks could be delivered directly without administrative or logistical delays.” 

That quick action has been critical when items were scarce and the supply chain was full of unvetted or even fraudulent vendors, he said. 

In addition to this recent donation, the Covid-19 Response Team has assisted AzCHER (Arizona Coalition for Healthcare Emergency Response) by connecting them to vetted vendors who were able to provide N-95 masks to their nearly 120 health care facilities. The Impact Team is likewise creating an online resource of vetted vendors so that during this pandemic – or in the face of future crises – it can be activated to provide information about these supplies or expanded to meet other needs, Houston said.

Riggs said the donation will go a long way in helping their staff in Tuba City. 

“There’s so much that’s been done in terms of support, including Honeywell,” she said. “We’re really appreciative.”

Tanya “T.J.” Riggs

Houston agreed.

“Honeywell’s generous donation is a great example of Arizonans working together to help each other through this crisis.”

Clint Houston

Learn more about the COVID-19 Response Team. Want to get involved? Tell us more here.