KWSO News for Tue., May 5, 2020

Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs Tribal Council met yesterday morning (5/4/20) and voted to extend the CTWS Government Offices closure through the month of May.  Dependent on continued success in curbing the spread of COVID-19, a phased in return for workers will begin June 1, 2020.  Essential functions will continue to operate

According to the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs there are now 11 positive cases of COVID-19 on the Reservation, as of 4:30pm yesterday (5/4/2020).  The Warm Springs Health and Wellness Center has sent in or tested 198 test samples, with 186 Negative test results and 11 results pending.   7 tests were done on Monday

Tribal Council Monday approved 4 recommendations from the Warm Springs COVID-19 Response Team.  Council members unanimously voted to implement the following:

  1. Order all citizens to wear a face covering (mask) while in public and in public places, where social distancing of six (6) feet or greater cannot be maintained.
  2. Order all citizens of the CTWS & employees working within the boundaries of the CTWS to self-isolate and quarantine as directed by healthcare professionals following a test result of negative or positive. Essential employees (first responders) who have been tested with a negative result will have additional guidance about returning to work.
  3. Businesses within the Tribes jurisdiction and tribal enterprises should have public spaces clearly marked with special distancing of six (6) feet on the floors or other means of a visual spacing.
  4. It is the recommendation of the response team to agree with Oregon Health Authorities reporting of COVID-19 results by ZIP Code.

As of Monday, St. Charles Health System is now requiring anyone entering a St. Charles hospital or clinic to wear a mask, to prevent the asymptomatic spread of COVID-19. Patients and visitors are encouraged to bring their own mask, but one will be provided if needed.

The Yurok Tribe this week joined seven other tribal governments in suing the federal government for not disbursing coronavirus relief funds.  Congress passed the CARES Act at the end of March, which reserved 8-billion dollars for tribal governments. The federal government needed to disburse that money by April 26th, but it has yet to do so.  Leaders with the Yurok Tribe on the Northern California coast say their community desperately needs this assistance for health services related to the pandemic.  A couple of dozen (24) U.S. senators — including California Senator Kamala Harris, and Oregon senators Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley — sent a letter yesterday (Monday) urging Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin to immediately send these funds to tribal governments. They also requested that additional resources be included in the next coronavirus relief package.

There is a BOIL WATER NOTICE that has been issued for the Schoolie Water System due to loss of pressure   due to excessive use of the potable water. When water mains lose pressure it increases the chance that untreated water and harmful microbes can enter your water. Harmful microbes in drinking water can cause diarrhea, cramps, nausea, headaches, or other symptoms and may pose a special health risk for infants, some elderly, and people with severely compromised immune systems. But these symptoms are not just caused by microbes in drinking water. If you experience any of these symptoms and they persist, you should seek medical advice.   The Branch of Public Utilities water crew is running booster pumps to bring the reservoir back up to safe levels. This should take a couple days.  At that point bacterial testing will be done.  Until test results are reviewed by the EPA and they life the notice – the Boil Water Notice is in place.

This week on Thursday (5/7/20), Congressional Native American Caucus Co-Chairs, Deb Haaland (D-NM) and Tom Cole (R-OK) will be introducing a new tribal broadband bill entitled the “COVID-19 Designation of Immediate Special Authority of Spectrum for Tribes’ Emergency Response in Indian Country Act” or “COVID-19 DISASTER in Indian Country Act.” The purpose of this unprecedented bill is to direct the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to grant Indian tribes emergency special temporary authority of available spectrum on tribal lands so they can immediately deploy broadband networks on tribal lands. Due to the disproportional impact of the COVID-19 pandemic in Indian Country, the need for broadband and other wireless services couldn’t be more apparent. Because Tribes have historically lacked access to spectrum to deploy broadband networks on reservations, 1.5 million people living on tribal lands have been left without basic access to healthcare, public safety, and educational services. This bill will provide the first opportunity for tribes to have access to wireless networks over their lands to adequately deploy wireless services for the first time in history.