KWSO News for 4/22/20

The Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs Tribal Council met yesterday to discuss and take action on COVID-19 pandemic business. The Tribal Government closure has been extended at least through May 8th with plans to open on May 11th. Employees who aren’t working will continue to get administrative leave. The Tribes announced, late yesterday, the first Positive two cases of COVID-19 in Warm Springs as 38 tests have been administered with 34 returning negative and 2 pending results. Warm Springs Community Health is now doing contact tracing to help prevent further exposure to COVID-19.  They have asked anyone who attended the Celilo Salmon Feast on April 12th, to please call them at 541-553-2460.  You can also call the COVID-19 Nurse hotline at 541-553-5512. Tribal Council Chairman, Raymond Tsumpti Sr, wanted to make clear that council has a responsibility to make decisions with Tribal Members Health as the priority. Secretary-Treasurer/CEO for the Tribes Michele Stacona noted that the extension of the Tribal Closure is subject to change depending on testing results and advice from medical experts.

In yesterday’s session, the Tribes’ Pension Committee brought forward a recommendation for a COVID-19 related change to the 401-K plans for both the Government and Enterprise plans.  THE CARES Act allows for a “coronavirus related distribution.”   Tribal Council approved the addition to the plans. Qualifying individuals can withdraw up to $50,000 of their 401K account without penalty.  Under the CARES Act, you are eligible for a coronavirus-related distribution if you, your spouse, or dependent have been diagnosed with COVID-19.   You can also qualify if you have experienced adverse financial consequences as a result of being quarantined, furloughed, laid off, or having work hours reduced due to the pandemic.

In Tribal Council yesterday Oregon National Guard General BJ Prendergast made a presentation in appreciation of the ongoing relationship between the Guard and the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs.  The National Guard brought in additional medical supplies for use on the reservation.  You may have noticed the National Guard helicopter on campus yesterday…

The Oregon Health Authority on Tuesday announced new guidelines for coronavirus testing. Oregon Public Broadcasting’s Meerah Powell reports. “O-H-A now recommends that people with mild coronavirus symptoms who don’t require medical assistance still contact their health care provider to discuss potential treatment and evaluation. That’s a departure from previous guidelines that did not recommend testing for such people. It also says asymptomatic people within group living systems such as health care, long-term care and corrections facilities can be considered for testing, if supplies allow. The agency has expanded recommendations for testing to new groups of people with symptoms such as front-line service workers, including people who work in grocery stores and for delivery services. The agency says it is recommending testing for people of color and people with disabilities who have symptoms. It says those communities are at a higher risk for coronavirus and associated health complications due to quote – “longstanding social and health inequities.” This is Meerah Powell reporting”

This week on KWSO’s Our People and Mother Earth, Danica Brown of the Northwest Portland Area Indian Health Board offered some advice on coping with the COVID-19 pandemic “Danica Brown: When you’re dealing with trauma, the biggest thing about trauma, is that it takes away your sense of safety. And So…one of the first things that we need to for each other and for ourselves is to increase our sense of safety. You know, first and foremost because it’s an extraordinary psychological experience it’s important for us to do that. And we can do that by doing things like, washing our hands and using protective gear when we go outside. And engaging in social distancing. And for tribal people we can go back to our traditional medicines and healing practices. And that will give us a sense of safety and control over what is going on right now.”  Brown reminds us that this is not the first pandemic Native People have faced and drawing on the strength of ancestors, and following social distancing and hand washing protocols, can help us make it through the current situation.

Yesterday (4/21/20) afternoon at 4:30pm the Warm Springs Branch of Public Utilities announced the lifting of the Boil Water Notice for the Kah-Nee-Ta Hamlets. The Water and Wastewater department took necessary steps to repair a 6” main line break last week followed by two rounds of bacterial testing.  The Environmental Protection Agency reviewed the test results and lifted the order for normal consumption of treated water to resume.

The 509-J meal program is showing some good numbers in Jefferson County. On Tuesday, Warm Springs gave out meals to 499 children, while in Madras they gave meals to 525 children. The meals have recently been updated to include Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner. Also, if you have a child that is going to be five years old on or before September 1st, you will need to fill out a registration packet to enroll your child for Kindergarten. Packets are due by June 1st.

The NFL Draft for 2020 is set to kick off tomorrow at 5pm. The NFL and the 32 teams are adhering to the social distancing guidelines and are holding the Draft Virtually. The Cincinnati Bengals have the #1 Overall pick and are expected to take former Heisman Trophy Winning LSU Quarterback Joe Burrow, while draft experts expect Ohio State Edge Rusher Chase Young to go 2nd to Washington. Former Oregon Quarterback Justin Herbert is predicted to go as early as 5th to the Miami Dolphins or as late as 23rd to the New England Patriots. In other NFL News, Former New England Tight End Rob Gronkowski has come out of retirement and was traded to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers along with a 7th round pick and New England received a 4th round pick in return.

For those who prefer to listen to their KWSO News Broadcast…Press Play Below: