CTUIR reports alarming surge in COVID-19 cases

By on Wednesday, May 12th, 2021 in Columbia Basin News More Top Stories

UPDATE: Vaccination clinic will include tribal members aged 12-15.

MISSION – The Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation (CTUIR) have scheduled a Pfizer COVID-19 vaccination clinic to serve 12-18 year olds who are CTUIR tribal members and/or Yellowhawk eligible patients. The clinic will take place Saturday, May 15 from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. at Yellowhawk Tribal Health Center.

People can call 541-240-8733 to make an appointment for Saturday. Due to increased volume, callers may get a recording and are asked to leave their name and contact number so that schedulers can return calls.

“The virus is spreading among our youth and we need to respond immediately,” said Lisa Guzman, Yellowhawk Tribal Health Center CEO. “We want our students to be able to go to graduation, prom and continue with sports. Now that 12-15 year olds are eligible we want to deliver the vaccine to them as soon as possible.” There will be a drive-through only option for students who are in quarantine due to exposure to someone who is positive. Yellowhawk will schedule a second vaccination event on June 5 to provide second doses to the 12-18 year olds.

Posted earlier:

News release from the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation:

Mission – After six straight weeks reporting zero COVID-19 cases among Tribal members and Yellowhawk-eligible patients, the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation recorded five cases last week, followed by nine cases in a single day on Monday, May 10. These numbers bring the CTUIR to a total of 17 active cases on the Reservation as of data reported on May 12.

Of these 17 cases, 12 are children between the ages of 4 and 18 years old. Each of these children is experiencing or has experienced symptoms of COVID-19. There is also currently one adult patient hospitalized due to COVID-19.

Yellowhawk Tribal Health Center staff is conducting contact tracing and reaching out to families and known contacts of those who have tested positive. However, Yellowhawk staff have run into some difficulty collecting information from some of those who have been contacted.

“Please provide good information to help Yellowhawk protect the community. We know everyone is tired of dealing with this disease, but we must cooperate and continue to do our part to get out of this emergency” stated Kat Brigham, Chair of the Board of Trustees. “People are experiencing a bigger range of symptoms so it makes getting vaccinated even more urgent.”

The known positive cases at this point appear to have occurred among school-age children who were in the same classrooms or rode the same school buses. However, social gatherings are also primary drivers of community spread of COVID-19. CTUIR Incident Command restrictions remain in place to limit gatherings to 10 or fewer people from no more than two households outdoors, or eight people from no more than two households indoors.  

The Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation is made up of the Cayuse, Umatilla, and Walla Walla Tribes, formed under the Treaty of 1855 at the Walla Walla Valley. In 1949, the Tribes adopted a constitutional form of government to protect, preserve and enhance the treaty rights guaranteed under the United States Constitution and federal law.