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COVID-19 cases increase on CRST

COVID-19 cases have increased on the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe reservation to a total of 12 as of Tuesday, July 7. 

The tribe is continuing to offer free testing to all residents of CRST, tribal and non-tribal members (see page B2). There were over 1,900 test kits available at the Cheyenne River Health Center (IHS).

In his daily radio address on July 7, the Chairman encouraged residents to wear a mask, while host Dr. Michael Loescher commented a recent finding that six feet may not be enough social distance when vapor is suspended in the air. He encouraged residents to pay special attention to hygiene and mask wearing in enclosed public spaces, particularly the Post Office. Loescher also said that, “If we get 80% of folks wearing a mask that is at least 60% effective the virus will be controlled.”

Chairman Frazier went on to comment that a resident went to an appointment off-reservation and was not contacted by any outside entity to report a possible contact with an infected person until a few days had passed. 

He encouraged residents to be proactive in notifying the CRST Command Center when they are alerted to a potential exposure. The Tribe will be reaching out the to South Dakota Department of Health to request they be more proactive in letting Tribal authorities know about potential contacts with positive cases so the tribe can start monitoring earlier.

Frazier encouraged residents who have a Travel Permit to be extra careful and to consider 14 days self-quarantine upon return to the reservation “for the safety of our relatives, our families, and for the people here on a reservation. Just because you have a Permit does not make you immune to this virus.”

He said, “It’s important now more than ever as we see numbers going up around us that we follow these recommendations and we stay strong and focus on what we’re doing.”

A caller asked if we have reached the point when we need to go into a 72-hour lockdown. The chairman responded that “until the investigations are completely done with the recent cases, hopefully we can contain it successfully as we have done in the past so we won’t have to do anything like that. I’ll be honest, there has been some discussion about that. But as of right now, really no formal action.” He said contact tracing should be complete by Wednesday morning, July 8.

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