KWSO News for Wed., May 6, 2020

There are 14 positive cases of COVID-19 in Warm Springs as of the end of the day yesterday.  210 tests have been done at the Warm Springs Health and Wellness Center.  191 tests have returned negative results with 5 tests results pending.

COVID-19 has claimed four more lives in Oregon, raising the state’s death toll to 113, as reported yesterday morning by the Oregon Health Authority.  There were 72 new confirmed cases and eight new presumptive cases of COVID-19 bringing the state total to 2,839.

Starting today, The Oregon Health Authority will begin posting COVID-19 case data by ZIP code and by county. This will provide a more granular, community-level look at the disease trends in Oregon.

On Monday Warm Springs Tribal Council endorsed recommendations of the Warm Springs COVID-19 response team.  Individuals must wear a face covering when in public especially where it’s not possible to maintain 6 feet of social distancing.  Any Warm Springs Resident or Employee must follow the directions of healthcare professions, after being tested for COVID-19 – including self-isolation and quarantine.  And 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.

This past Sunday afternoon Warm Springs Police Dispatch received several complaints from citizens living in the West Hills area concerning a male subject brandishing a firearm.  Officers responded to the area.  The Spilyay Tymoo reports that the suspect was uncooperative and threatening and subsequently was shot by an officer.  The suspect was treated and transported to St. Charles Bend and then to Portland for treatment.   The FBI and US Attorney’s Office were notified, and upon the request of the Warm Springs Police Department, the FBI dispatched their Evidence Recovery Team to process the incident site, which was completed on May 4.

Late Monday a BOIL WATER NOTICE was issued for the Schoolie Water System due to loss of pressure.  In the Notice it stated that the Schoolie Flats water distribution system lost pressure due to excessive use of the potable water supply for livestock purposes and that this has been an on-going issue.  Users have been informed to only use the potable water supply for human consumption however the small reservoir had excessive use for livestock watering which surpassed the system’s ability to maintain an adequate supply causing a significant loss of pressure.  The Branch of Public Utilities Water Crew is refilling the reservoir and then will conduct testing.  The Boil Water Order will remain in effect until the Environmental Protection Agency reviews the tests and lifts the order.  For School Water System users that means you need to bring tap water to a rolling boil, boil for three minutes, and cool before using. Or use bottled water for drinking, making ice, washing dishes, brushing teeth, and preparing food until further notice.

The Treasury Department said Tuesday that it would start paying out $4.8 billion of a total $8 billion in funding for tribes fighting the COVID-19 pandemic, but said it will reserve a portion of that money it believes should go to Alaska Native Corporations.  U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin in a joint statement with Interior Secretary David Bernhardt said that the federal government would start Tuesday to deliver 60 percent of the $8 billion in direct tribal funding under the $2 trillion Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act, a process it expects to take “several banking days” to complete.  That distribution will be based on tribal population information used for the Indian Housing Block Grant, with a minimum of $100,000 for each tribe, according to the statement.

Yesterday was Missing and Murdered American Indians and Alaska Natives Awareness Day. Tragically, missing and murdered Native Americans stems from the disproportionately high rates of violence and crime committed against Native women and girls. To bring attention to this issue that has deeply affected Native communities across the country, Administration for Native Americans Commissioner Jeannie Hovland and Indian Health Service Director Rear Adm. Michael D. Weahkee released a public service announcement to highlight some of the prevention tools and resources available for those in crisis or in need of healing. “Our strength is in our cultures and traditions, our languages, and our knowledge of who we are as Native peoples. We want to honor our relatives that we have lost,” said Hovland. “Together we will end this crisis.”  You can Learn more about Operation Lady Justice, the Presidential Task Force on Missing and Murdered American Indians and Alaska Natives, at