COVID-19 Reaches Band Communities


Protocols are in place as more cases are likely to arise in districts

Band health officials confirmed on May 18 that a Band member living in District I had tested positive for COVID-19. On May 27, officials announced that a person living in District II had tested positive. As federal, state, and local leaders have said since the U.S. outbreak began, it is likely that more Band members living in reservation communities will test positive, so it is more important than ever that we all take precautions to minimize risk.

Now that COVID-19 is in two of our districts, the Band has protocols in place to protect the communities and to assist those who test positive, along with their household members. These steps have been followed in the first cases and will be followed in other cases as well:

Assistance to Band members/families: Persons testing positive will be monitored by medical professionals and will receive medical assistance from local hospitals if necessary. All members of the household will be quarantined for two weeks and expected not to leave their homes for any purpose except to receive medical attention. Public Health staff will work with Band members and their families to assist them throughout their two-week quarantine. At the end of the quarantine period, Band members will be re-tested to ensure they are negative and no longer carrying the virus. Two negative results are required in one 24-hour period to be considered negative. The Band will provide a two-week food supply to Band members during their quarantine so they do not need to leave the home. Spiritual leaders will be available by phone to provide assistance to the affected Band members.

Limiting Community Spread: Our Band Public Health staff will work with Band members who test positive to identify anyone they have come into contact with for two days prior to becoming symptomatic or testing positive for COVID-19. These are the guidelines from the Minnesota Department of Health. Community members who are confirmed to have been in contact with the person testing positive will be contacted and notified about testing options.
A person can carry the virus for 3 to 13 days without having any symptoms, and some people who test positive never develop symptoms but can still spread the disease. That is why testing is so important. Our goal is to limit continued spread by identifying other community members who should immediately go into quarantine to protect our community. It is critical that anyone testing positive fully cooperate with Band Public Health staff to help identify anyone else who might be at risk, so their families can be protected as well.

Safety Recommendations: It is more important than ever that all Band families engage in rigorous hand-washing, wear masks whenever you leave the home, and practice social distancing. Anyone who has underlying health conditions should stay home and restrict contact with others who do not live in your home. Any Band members who begin to feel ill and are concerned should call the Nurseline at 320-630-0855 to report your symptoms.

Health officials and tribal leaders will keep Band members updated if other cases arise among our Band community in any of the three Districts.