Recently, Mabel and a colleague delivered an isolation kit and supplies to a family in Dennehotso, AZ, where six family members from the same household tested positive for COVID-19. Of the six, a father, his daughter, and her six-year-old child were all infected…three generations under the same roof contracted coronavirus. The father had been transported to a Phoenix hospital for treatment, and, unfortunately, the family had just received the call that he passed away as Mabel arrived with the delivery.
“My colleague and I had to take a break for 10 to 15 minutes and regroup after that visit,” said Mabel, as she recalled that heartbreaking home visit. “Until that moment, I was in denial about my younger brother’s death a couple of months ago, and we just laid my nephew to rest two weeks ago (both were 46 years old and passed away from COVID-19). We are all from this same community, but I have a job to do. I pray for strength and spiritual growth every day because what we are doing is so important.”
Each day she is in the field, Mabel encounters Navajo Nation residents who have different reactions to the pandemic. Some people don’t want to wear masks or have their temperature checked if they go to the grocery store. Others are traumatized and insist on wearing masks and gloves all of the time. She encourages the residents to model good prevention behavior and avoid being judgmental, as people process stress in a myriad of ways.