Cleaning crew fights COVID-19 on the Navajo Nation

Posted at 9:09 AM, Oct 19, 2020
and last updated 2020-10-20 00:28:04-04

Data from the Navajo Nation shows there were 42 new reported cases of COVID-19 on Sunday, bringing the total number of cases to just under 11,000.

Along with weekend lockdowns, tribal leaders have also brought on a cleaning crew to regularly decontaminate public spaces.

Collin Anderson, Vice President of Southern Solutions Environmental, says they were contacted by tribal leaders back in June. He says they traveled over a thousand miles from Nashville, Tennessee, to the Navajo Nation where they’ve been staying ever since.

He says the chemical they use is called D7, which kills the virus in the air and at the surface level. He says it’s produced by a company in Scottsdale, Arizona.

Anderson says their first target was spraying isolation sites, decontaminating the area where patients who tested positive were staying. He says they then took a pro-active approach, going after public spaces across tribal lands.

“We would go around to food distribution sites, fire departments, office buildings, schools, all sorts of different places across the entirety of Navajo Nation,” Anderson said.

Anderson says they’ve been working free of charge. He says they’re currently finalizing a contract and will be continuing their coverage through money allocated by the CARES Act.

“What we plan to do and what we are actively doing is hiring a Navajo-first preference to make sure that the money coming in with the CARES Act is actually going back to the community,” Anderson said.

He said currently they have eight employees who are from the Navajo Nation and they plan on hiring another 20.