KWSO News for Fri., Dec. 11, 2020

COVID-19 Case Demographics as of Wednesday this week (12/9/20) show that the largest age group for active COVID-19 cases in Warm Springs are 0-19 year olds at 29%.  The next largest demographic is the 30-39 year olds group at 22%.  Since testing began, younger people have tested positive for COVID-19 at a higher rate than other age groups at 31%.  15-19 year olds have been diagnosed at a higher rate than other age groupings in the 0-19 category.  It’s imperative that youth understand that although they may not get as sick as older people with underlying health issues, they can still get sick and more importantly if they get COVID-19, they will spread it to others.  Limiting daily routine to staying home and spending time only with those who you live with can help slow the spread of coronavirus.  It’s hard not being around friends, but you can still call, text or video chat with them.  Protect your family & household members by limiting your potential exposure to COVID-19.  Warm Springs contract tracing has shown that the most frequent places of exposure are within households and at gatherings or visiting with people that are not part of your household.

Since early in the pandemic, rapid contact tracing has been considered one of the keys to controlling the spread of the coronavirus. But in recent weeks, an overwhelming surge in new cases has let thousands of COVID-positive people and their close contacts fall through the cracks. Northwest News Network’s Correspondent Tom Banse reports that contact tracers play an important role in breaking the chain of virus transmission because they call close contacts of a newly diagnosed person and tell them to self-quarantine. Early on, the Washington State Department of Health set a goal of interviewing 90 percent of cases within 24 hours of diagnosis. Oregon’s goal is 95 percent. Neither state is anywhere close at this point.    Todd Myers who studied contact tracing performance for the Washington Policy Center think tank says “If we’re not doing it right, what happens is the state has to resort to more drastic measures, more serious lockdowns, more economic impact.”    In Washington state, 100 National Guard members are being called up to help with contact tracing, again. In Oregon, some county health officials are now encouraging people who test positive to notify their close contacts right away – do it yourself-style.

In Warm Springs with COVID cases increasing so quickly – additional essential staff are shifting their work to assist contact tracers.  That includes Health & Human Services staff as well as staff from the Holistic Health Center.  As of yesterday the caseload for positive cases and close contacts was 245 individuals who are supposed to be checked on daily.

Central Oregon Community College will be offering GED classes remotely this winter.  You can register online up to December 28th and the term will start January 4th.  Communication Classes for reading & writing will be Mondays and Wednesdays, Math Classes will be Mondays and  Wednesdays OR Tuesdays and Thursdays and Science Classes are being offered on Tuesdays and Thursdays.  For more information visit  To see if you qualify for the Future Ready grant that will pay for tuition, books, tests and transportation – email Deanna Fender at

Jefferson County 509-J schools were not the only Central Oregon district to put the breaks on in-person instruction this week.  As more staffers and students quarantine because of COVID-19 exposure, Redmond school officials stopped classroom learning. In Crook County, they had been having in-person school however this week families were notified that they would  resume comprehensive distance learning through at least Jan. 4.

Warm Springs Housing Authority is now accepting applications for the Housing Improvement Program for home repair, renovation, or replacement.  Eligibility requirements include Tribal Membership, income that does not exceed 150% of the poverty guidelines, and to have not previously received this assistance.  If you previously applied by did not get selected – you can submit the same application.  Contact Chet at Housing to follow up at 541-553-3259,  You can get an application package from Sharon Jackson, Northwest Regional BIA by emailing