FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
December 1, 2020
COVID-19 WEEKLY UPDATE FOR THE FORT HALL RESERVATION
Fort Hall- the Tribal Office of Emergency Management (TOEM) officially reports the weekly number of COVID-19 cases on the Fort Hall Reservation. The total number of tribal members impacted by COVID-19 is currently at 569 cases (this number includes positives and recovered) since the pandemic started. Of the 569 cases, 57 are currently positive and being monitored, 501 have recovered, 1 is currently hospitalized, and 11 reported deaths due to COVID-19.
With the recent holiday season, Tribal health officials from I.H.S and HRSA are seeing a spike in positive cases on the reservation especially in households with multi-generation families (ie. grandparents, mom/dad, teenagers, and toddlers). We are stressing to the community, if you are sick or have a sick child, please keep them home and get them tested and wear their facemasks at all times in the public. I.H.S and HRSA are both equipped to conduct rapid testing. If you are experiencing symptoms or you think you have been exposed to someone sick with COVID-19, call the IHS hotline at 208-238-5494 (Monday-Friday 8-5PM) or HRSA at 208-478-3987 (open weekends til 8PM).
Due to the recent increase of positive cases, the Tribes Emergency Operations Team is coordinating a Community Wide Screening tentatively scheduled for the 2nd week of December. There will be a pre-registration for this community screening this Thursday, December 3rd and Friday, December 4th at the Fort Hall Rodeo grounds from 10AM-6PM. According to I.H.S Health official Lori Snidow, “this pre-registration allows us to create a database before the community screening. Community members will need to complete an information sheet that we will need completed and be willing and able to screen every week for the next 8 weeks. This will help us identify the positive cases and get them quarantined.”
Furthermore, “We are the second Tribe in the United States to offer this mass community screening.” More information on the actual testing dates/location and times will be released on the Tribes Facebook page (shoban tribes) and posted at all 5 district lodges.
We are still seeing gatherings occurring on the reservation larger than 10 people in a room without an approved Safety Plan. We urge committees, Tribal departments and/or organizations, and district lodges to contact Tribes Safety Officer JIm Cutler at 208-241-2184 for any questions.
With the Christmas holiday coming up in a few weeks, health officials are predicting another spike in cases and are stressing to not have large gatherings with other families traveling in or coming from another home. According to health officials, when an asymptomatic (a person carrying the virus and shows no symptoms) is out in the community, they can have up to 7-19 days of spreading the virus to others. So please be cautious of attending any large gatherings of any kind and wear your facemask.
Tribal Health recently hired two new temporary employees to assist in contact tracing. If you are contacted by a ‘Contact Tracer’, it means that you were in close contact with someone that tested positive for COVID-19 and you will be instructed to schedule a COVID-19 test immediately and quarantine. Quarantining is important and to check if you develop COVID-19 symptoms and reduce the potential spread of COVID-19. If you get a message from a Contact Tracer, please return the phone call back immediately, so they can provide you with important information and support.
Now is the time to get a Flu shot- Health officials are stressing to the Tribal membership to get a flu shot. It is important in these times to be protected from other illnesses like the flu. Please visit the I.H.S. or HRSA to schedule a free flu shot.
Food Distribution is every 3rd Thursday of the month for the Fort Hall community at the Old Casino (south side). The Idaho Food Bank is teaming up with the Tribes to provide this community assistance. Please be early as there will only be 200 food boxes for EACH distribution, 1st come, 1st serve basis.
For tribal resources check out the Tribes COVID-19 website at http://sbtribes.com/covid-19/