Tribes in our own state are taking COVID-19 seriously, and are planning for what may be to come.
KX spoke with members of the Standing Rock community on how they plan to keep a healthy environment.
An Emergency Disaster Declaration was implemented by the Standing Rock Tribal Council as a measure to focus on keeping residents safe.
“These steps the chairman are taking are ways to prevent anything from you know spreading here in this community, especially here on Standing Rock, on the reservation, where, you know, the majority of our population is that vulnerable population,” shared Tribal Councilman Brandon Mauai.
An Incident Command Team was created in order to spread awareness about coronavirus and create a plan in the case the virus hits any of the eight districts within the reservation.
“So what we’ve gone back to doing is literally boots on the ground and making hard copies of documents and some of those things we’ve gone over with the communities here. In hopes that they’re going back making extra copies and giving those and distributing, especially to their 60 and over population, their elders, and making sure every single household has the proper education and communication,” shared Margaret Gates, the Incident Commander.
One main concern for the the team is the limited amount of medical supplies.
For about 8,900 members who live across the 2.3 million acres of land, there are currently only seven ventilators within the healthcare system.
“For us, as well as the state and the rest of the country, it’s really difficult to try to get people to understand how serious this, but how serious this can be and how quick this can turn overnight,” said Gates.
With one positive case in Sioux County and low resources, tribal leaders are doing what they deem necessary to prevent coronavirus from spreading to their communities in Standing Rock.
Members are also assisting the elders in the community by bringing them their medication and even their groceries.