KWSO News for 3/27/20

The Warm Springs Health and Wellness Center is currently open and asks that if you are sick to call into the clinic for screening and appointment setting. “Warm Springs clinic is now offering scheduled telephone appointments with a medical provider. If you have a medical need or concern but don’t think you need to come into the clinic, call to schedule a telephone visit with a provider. Call the appointment line 553-2610, and the scheduling staff will set up a telephone visit time for you with a medical provider.” The clinic will be utilizing Parking lot check-in service and curbside prescription service. They are also checking everybody’s temperature as they enter the building. The Tribal Council strongly encourages all community members to please stay home and only travel off the reservation to get essential supplies, such as groceries, medications and health needs. The Tribal Government will be closed for two weeks beginning on Monday March 30th.

In a March 19th release, Warm Springs Ventures announced that the USDA has approved the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs hemp plan for cultivation of an outdoor hemp crop on the reservation. This approval allows the enterprise to move forward with operations, with the goal to get a crop planted for the 2020 grow season. The Hemp project is continuing to work on the necessary steps to make this happen and are doing what they can to work with the current challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic. The Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs also announced the hiring of Jim Souers as the Ventures new Chief Executive Officer. Mr. Souers is a 1979 graduate of Madras High School, a graduate of Oregon State University, with an MBA from Lake Forest Graduate School of Management. Mr. Souers is a member of the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe of South Dakota and grew up on the Warm Springs reservation. He brings a wealth of diverse executive level experience as over the past 30 years he’s been involved in several successful entrepreneurial startups as well as being an early venture investor. Throughout his career, Jim continued to follow the CTWS and is looking forward to helping the community he calls home.

The Oregon Health Authority reported yesterday that one more Oregonian has died from COVID-19. That brings the statewide death toll to eleven. A 69-year-old Washington County woman was the latest death. She had tested positive on March 15th and died 10 days later while receiving care at Providence St. Vincent Medical Center. The Health Authority says it also has confirmed 50 new cases of the coronavirus in its latest update on testing. Statewide, more than 300 people have tested positive for the coronavirus. The first confirmed case in Wasco county was reported yesterday morning as well. For those community members that do shopping in The Dalles, Tribal council asks that you exercise cautious judgement and be aware of the potential of this virus and that its only carrier is by human contact. If at all possible, please be mindful of the rest of the community and stay home. Oregon U.S. Senator Jeff Merkley shares how the Senate is practicing Social Distancing “I’ll tell you that everything’s been completely transformed, for the last week I’ve been the only person in the office. So all my staff is working from home all the phone calls are being routed to home, take those phone calls and respond to people in Oregon. Here in the building, people are being very careful, and I just find that I look at every door as a challenge. You think about, can I open this door/lever with my elbow, can I press this button on the elevator with my knee, if I have to hold this door knob and pull the door knob towards me, do I open it with a Kleenex and throw the Kleenex away so that I’m not touching a common doorknob. People are staying away from each other in the hallways, so their walking on opposite sides of the hallway far apart. On the floor of the Senate we’re trying not to hang out there for any amount of time, but if we do it’s trying to keep 6 feet away, meaning we talk a lot louder than we normally would be talking. No pats on the back, no handshakes. Not even elbow bumps. Habits have been dramatically transformed.” In Warm Springs, there have been 5 tests administered with 3 returning negative and 2 pending results. There are no confirmed cases in Jefferson County.

Both of Oregon’s US Senators voted in favor of the $2 trillion coronavirus relief package that passed the Senate late Wednesday night. Among the most important provisions, says Democrat Ron Wyden, is the streamlining of unemployment benefits. “Ron Wyden: “The whole notion of waiting periods and showing that you’re looking for new jobs right now, when everybody understands that employers are laying people off in massive numbers, those kind of traditional concepts don’t really apply now.” Wyden says even self-employed people, such as those working so-called “gig economy” jobs, will be able to access unemployment benefits. The aid package moves on to the US House, which is expected to vote on it as soon as today.

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