There are 34 active cases, an increase of eight cases, with 124 recovered and one death. Beginning tomorrow the tribe will be moving to Level 4 of their COVID-19 Emergency Response Plan, said CRST Chairman Harold Frazier in his address today.
A total of 6,903 tests have been conducted, with 6,744 negatives and 159 positive cases. There are 3,027 test kits available. There are currently three admissions to the Service Unit and five open beds. There are two COVID patients hospitalized; both referred out to other hospitals. The one case in the Service Unit was discharged yesterday, said the chairman.
The chairman called everyone’s attention to the fact that back in March the concern was for an increase in cases among the elders and now that is happening.
Thom Eagle Staff asked the chairman what the determining factors were to go into Level 4? The chairman replied that the number of active cases is increasing faster than the recoveries. Also, there is a concern for the vulnerable and elderly, and elders seem to be getting infected more than other groups. These are the factors that caused the change to Level 4.
A caller asked what the differences are between Level 3 and Level 4. The chairman said what really jumps out is the changes to the schools. All pre-K and K-12 schools are going to distance learning. The changes to schooling will take a few days to take place. The chairman will visit with school administrators tomorrow afternoon to plan and prepare. Another big piece is restaurants and food services are take-out and pick up only. Tribal clinics will be all closed but providing services, just call to get care. They have a process already in place. Day care will be limited to the children of essential workers only. Church services are remote only. No public meals or feeds will be allowed.
Guidance for funerals will be enforced. The funeral homes and families have been following the guidance really well. There are no changes to checkpoint procedures that would impact travel. If you come from a hot spot people are still encouraged to voluntarily quarantine. In Level 5 the permit process and mandatory quarantine will go back into effect.
A caller asked when the tribe will transition to Level 4 and when will high-risk tribal employees be sent home? The chairman said all the documents for the different levels are on the web site and the Facebook page so people can get a true understanding. He said at Level 4 a lot of non-essential workers will work from home if possible. If not, the workplace will be closed down. He said people can rely on internet and laptops to work online.
Will restaurants and bars be closed or operating under restricted hours? The chairman said bars should not be open even at Level 3. At Level 4 there will be no dine-in, take-out and pick-up only. The tribe understands that some places have purchased food supplies that need to be consumed. So there will be a few says before the tribe goes to Level 4.
When exactly will Level 4 be implemented and will curfew go back to 8 pm? The chairman said at Level 3 and 4 curfew is 10 pm to 5 am. It goes back to 8 pm at Level 5. He said Level 4 will be in effect no later than Monday everyone needs to be in compliance by then.
Why does CARES Act only pay for wifi but not for telephone? The chairman said that’s a good question and he will bring it up. He said he does know the reason is because students at home need internet to take classes online, so there is a greater need for wifi. He will see if telephone bills can be aid as well.
A caller asked about Support Services Clothing Grants. How is eligibility determined and how often can someone apply? The chairman replied that it’s been a while since he saw the policies. He said if you are under income and unemployed you are eligible. He said there’s a winter clothing grants in December so people can apply twice. He said some children are not eligible under Support Services and Child and Family Services has assisted others as well.
A caller asked when school administrators will send home high risk tribal workers? Are they still required to go to work at the schools? The chairman said he will have to defer to the school administrators. He visited with Dr. Farley and the BIA and Grant schools all went virtual, but they are still providing lunches so some staff are still coming in. Workers will need to check with school administration to see if they are still required to come into work or not.
A caller asked when will they have wood stove pellets available? The chairman replied he knows there are several families that burn pellets so they should be stocked up.
A caller asked when will hunting licenses come available? The chairman said he should know in a few days. He needs to visit with the Land Office. He believes the Land Committee has already approved fees, etc.
A caller asked why are some bars allowed to stay open longer than others such as restaurants with bars? The chairman said that should not be. Letters will be coming forth shortly.
Questions about the LaPlant C-Store. Why did they take away the radar speed limit in LaPlante? The chairman said the speed limit will be 45 mph. He said some people just quite didn’t quite get it yet that for the safety of the residents in that community the speed limit needs to be 45 mph. Some people changed the signs and the tribe changed them back.
When will they build a pavement entryway for the C-Store? The chairman said he visited with JD Williams at CREDO and they are working on it. It will be paved or cemented before snow flies. Funds are available to do it. The chairman said longterm the Council and the Roads Committee are talking about a bike path and lighted pathway. They know there will be a lot of kids on the highway going to the C-Store. They are hopefully getting funds to have a lighted pathway and bike path for individuals to go to the store and back to their homes safely.
A caller asked can we use CARES Act assistance for storage units since it’s a monthly bill? The chairman said he is jotting that down and will be meeting with Council on CARES Act this afternoon.
A caller asked when can essential employees who work from home go back to work? The chairman said if they are essential, they should not be at home, they should be working. He said for tribal workplaces at Level 3 essential employees do not work from home unless they are high risk. If they are essential, they should be at work.
A caller identified that his mother is elderly and disabled and the tribal Transportation Department told her that she is not in the Top Ten so she won’t get her road worked on. The caller asked how the Top Ten is determined? Is seems the elderly and disabled should be more eligible than a friend of the Director. The chairman replied that there is an application process. If the caller will send the chairman an email he’ll look into it and see why it’s not on the list.
A shout out from the community of Iron Lightning. They want the chairman to know he is doing a good job, Mr. Chairman!!
When and where are the tribe spending grants from government to build homes for the people? The chairman replied that the tribe received funding from BIA for a housing program and they usually purchase homes from the government program that are given to the elderly. He said that due to the cost they are only able to do 3-4 homes a year. The Housing Authority receives funding. But other than that the tribe does not receive any funding for housing.
Can Advance Wireless Internet get paid with the CARES Act assistance money? The chairman said he’s already written this question down to present to Council for clarification.
The chairman closed with a caution for people who travel off reservation or to visit a friend to follow social distancing, keep 6 feet or more between you and others, wear a mask, and wash your hands more often. Stay strong in your prayers and remain positive and patient.