November 23, 2020
Fort Hall- the Tribal Office of Emergency Management (TOEM) officially report 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 506 cases (this number includes positives and recovered) since the pandemic started in early April 2020. Of the 506 cases, 69 are currently positive and being monitored, 423 have recovered, 3 are currently hospitalized, and there are 11 reported deaths due to COVID-19.
With the holidays next week, health officials are predicting a 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 carrier for the virus showing no symptoms) person is out in the community, they can have up to 7-19 days of spreading the virus to others.
Here are some helpful tips for celebrating Thanksgiving safely— CDC offers the following considerations to slow the spread of COVID-19 during small gatherings. These considerations are meant to supplement—not replace—any state, local, territorial, or tribal health and safety laws, rules, and regulations with which all gatherings must comply.
Consider Small Gatherings of Family ONLY. Celebrating virtually/Facetime or with members of your own household (who are consistently taking measures to reduce the spread of COVID-19) poses the lowest risk for spread. Your household is anyone who currently lives and shares common spaces in your housing unit (such as your house or apartment). College students returning home, are not considered as household member.
1. Limit contact with commonly touched surfaces or shared items, such as serving utensils.
2. Clean and disinfect commonly touched surfaces and any shared items between uses when feasible. Use EPA-approved disinfectants.
3. Use touchless garbage cans if available. Use gloves when removing garbage bags or handling and disposing of trash. Wash hands after removing gloves.
4. Treat pets as you would other human family members – do not let pets interact with people outside the household.
5. Wear a mask while preparing food for or serving food to others who don’t live in your household.
6. Limit people going in and out of the areas where food is being prepared or handled, such as in the kitchen or around the grill, if possible.
7. Have one person who is wearing a mask serve all the food so that multiple people are not handling the serving utensils.
8. Use single-use options or identify one person to serve sharable items, like salad dressings, food containers, plates and utensils, and condiments.
COVID-19 Reinfection— Cases of reinfection with COVID-19 have been reported, but remain rare.
In general, reinfection means a person was infected (got sick) once, recovered, and then later became infected again. Based on what we know from similar viruses, some reinfections are expected. We are still learning more about COVID-19. Ongoing COVID-19 studies will help us understand:
What CDC & the Tribes doing? CDC is actively working to learn more about reinfection to inform public health action. CDC developed recommendations for public health professionals to help decide when and how to test someone for suspected reinfection. CDC has also provided information for state and local health departments to help investigate suspected cases of reinfection. We will update this guidance as we learn more about reinfection.
Prevention– At this time, whether you have had COVID-19 or not, the best way to prevent infection is to take steps to protect yourself: Wear a mask in public places, Stay at least 6 feet away from other people, Wash your hands, Avoid crowds and confined spaces.
The Tribes Emergency Team is coordinating a Mass Community Screening and will post further details on the Tribes Facebook page on when and where.
We stress to everyone– Stay at home if you’re sick. Both I.H.S and HRSA offer free testing on the Reservation. If you think you have been exposed to someone sick with COVID-19 or have symptoms, call the IHS hotline at 208-238-5494 (Monday-Friday 8-5PM).
Tribal Health is still experiencing a decrease in contact tracers. 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 support. Tribal contact tracers are (please take note of numbers in case you get a call from one of these tracers): Feliciana Fullmer is at 208-478-3901, Natasha Watson is at 971-724-6749 and Jarrod Williams is at 208-478-3906.
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 sicknesses like the flu. Please visit the I.H.S. clinic to schedule a free flu shot.
There will be NO Facebook LIVE this week due to the holidays and will post on Tribes Facebook when there will be a Facebook Live for next week.
For any health concerns and if you develop symptoms, please call Fort Hall Indian Health Service (I.H.S) at (208) 238-5494 (Monday-Friday, 8-5PM) or Community Health Center (HRSA) 208-478-3987. For tribal resources check out the Tribes COVID-19 website at http://sbtribes.com/covid-19/.