KWSO News for Tue., Jun. 16, 2020

Yesterday afternoon the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs Covid-19 update reported that of the 50 cases of Covid-19 in Warm Springs – 42 people have now recovered.  The other 8 people remain in self-isolation for a 14 day period.  765 tests in all have been conducted.  That testing will continue for anyone with symptoms, as well as for random surveillance testing of high risk individuals and a sampling of Tribal Employees who have returned to their workplace.

Oregon’s coronavirus cases continue to rise, with 184 new cases reported Monday –  the highest daily count in the state since the start of the pandemic. The Oregon Health Authority says a portion of the increase is due to an outbreak in Union County in the rural northeastern part of the state, where 99 people were confirmed to have tested positive for COVID-19. A number of cases are associated with the Lighthouse Pentecostal Church in Union County, said Dr. Paul Cieslak, medical director for infectious diseases and immunizations at the Health Authority Public Health Division. Authorities weren’t more specific about exactly how many cases were tied to the church.

The boil water order was lifted last Friday for the Schoolie Flat Water System following review of testing by the EPA.  The Water System failed in the month of May with repairs to the existing pump and motor completed  on June 2nd.  The month long water outage affected residences from the Simnasho Cemetery to the top of the grade above the fish hatchery.  Warm Springs Branch of Public Utilities Water & Wastewater department is moving forward with seeking funding and doing analysis on the Schoolie Water system to upgrade all equipment, components of the booster station and related piping.

The Warm Springs Holistic Health program has reopened this week with modified operations. Holistic Health is located on campus next to the courthouse.  They are screening clients before entering the facility and following health and safety recommendations to protect from the spread of Covid-19.  They are offering limited services, providing physical therapy and acupuncture.  Hours are 8am-5pm with appointments required.  Call 541-777-2663 to learn more”

Indian Head Casino reopens this Thursday morning with modified operations.  There will only be one entrance in use, by the Cottonwood Restaurant.  There will be a touchless temperature check before entering the Casino and everyone will be required to wear face masks.  Additional adjustments will include plexiglass shields and social distance markers in high traffic areas.  There will be multiple hand sanitizing stations and the entire property will be smoke free.  The Cottonwood will offer take-out food with curbside service.

The U.S. Treasury Department must release $679 million in coronavirus relief funding for tribes that it intended to withhold while a court challenge over the agency’s initial round of payments to tribal governments played out in court, a federal judge ruled late Monday.  U.S. District Judge Amit Mehta in Washington, D.C., said the agency doesn’t have discretion to withhold the money that is part of a federal relief package that included $8 billion for tribes. He ordered the Treasury Department to disburse it among tribal governments by Wednesday.  “Continued delay in the face of an exceptional public health crisis is no longer acceptable,” Mehta said.  The relief package was approved in late March with a deadline for the funding to be distributed to tribes by April 26.  The payments were delayed as the Treasury Department grappled with methodology. It decided to use federal tribal population data for the initial $4.8 billion distribution to 574 federally recognized tribes in early May. Much of the remaining $3.2 billion based on tribes’ employment and expenditure data went out Friday, the department said.  The tribes have only until the end of this year to figure out how to spend these funds.

Yesterday Warm Springs Tribal Council continued their discussion of how to spend the more than 13 million dollars in CARES Act Funding received by the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs.

The National Congress of American Indians supports Washington, D.C., Mayor Muriel Bowser’s public statement on change needed for the Washington NFL team’s mascot.  On Friday, Bowser said “it’s past time for the team to deal with what offends so many,” when asked about the team’s controversial mascot.  “Mayor Bowser’s statement represents a watershed development in Indian Country’s decades-long struggle to remove this and the many other offensive and degrading Native ‘themed’ mascots from sports and popular culture,” NCAI President Fawn Sharp said in a Monday statement.  Earlier this year, an academic study debunked previous surveys saying Native people support offensive mascot imagery.