Chairman Harold Frazier said of the 27 individuals who have coronavirus, 14 of them are under the age of 18 years old. Statistically, this equates to 51.85%. The new spike of the positive cases on CRST was expected after the Fourth of July holiday, said Danette Serr, CRST Tribal Health Department Director.
Serr explained to the West River Eagle on June 17 that the mass testing that took place weeks leading into the July 4th weekend was important because it established a health baseline for the reservation.
With the drastic increase in positive cases within 24-hours, in addition to moving to Level 4 of the CRST COVID-19 Emergency Response Plan (see photo), the Tribe has mandated that all businesses on the reservation will now require everyone in their establishment to wear a face mask and to enforce social distancing. The mandate is reservation-wide, said Frazier.
The chairman explained that he, CRST Tribal Council members, and the medical team met for over three hours this morning to discuss the new positive numbers and the pros and cons of a having a potential of a reservation lockdown.
The chairman said some council representatives stated they received numerous of comments from people asking for a lockdown; however, some representatives said they reached out to other tribal nations who have implemented lockdowns and it was their opinion that lockdowns did not work.
“If we did something like that, it would do more harm than good,” said the chairman before stating it is crucial to practice social distancing.
“If you should be out in public, you should be wearing a mask,” said the tribal leader before he encouraged everyone to stay home and only travel when absolutely necessary.
And if someone is feeling sick, to call the CRST Medical Hotline at 605-964-0563.
Another important topic the chairman discussed was the drive-thru testing that will take place tomorrow at the Eagle Butte IHS hospital parking lot. He encouraged everyone to get tested and reminded the public that testing is open to all residents, tribal and non-tribal members.
With young people making up a majority of positive individuals on CRST, the chairman encouraged parents and young adults to be extra cautious, especially when they live with elders and grandparents. He also said that little ones need extra parental guidance because they may not understand the importance of practice social distancing.
“We’re fortunate that we have not had a death yet… continue to pray that we never do,” said Chairman Frazier.
Here is a breakdown the numbers of positive individuals on CRST:
27 cases positive cases:
17 individuals are under the age of 45
Of the 17 positive individuals, 14 of them are under the age of 18
7 individuals are between the ages of 26-50
3 are over 50 years old