Updated Health and Safety Guidelines on the Umatilla Indian Reservation

MISSION, OR – On Friday, November 13, Governor Kate Brown issued a new set of orders, freezing or limiting the conduct of many businesses and activities throughout the State. As a sovereign government, the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation (CTUIR) are not bound by these restrictions, but the CTUIR respects Governor Brown’s efforts to stop the spread of the novel coronavirus and is choosing to implement its own set of new guidance for business and activities on the Umatilla Indian Reservation.

Some of the most noticeable of these guidelines, recommended by the Yellowhawk Tribal Health Center and adopted by the CTUIR Incident Command Team, include restricting restaurants to “take-out only” on the Umatilla Indian Reservation and the closure of the Wildhorse Cineplex, as well as Quaking Aspens Lanes and the Family Funplex arcade. These facilities will be closed beginning on Wednesday, November 18, with the closure extending for two weeks through Wednesday, December 2. The Incident Command Team is also requesting that individuals not travel outside of a 75 mile radius for non-essential travel and that those who do so quarantine for 14 days upon their return home. The full extent of the new guidelines issued by the Incident Command Team will be posted on the CTUIR’s official Facebook page as well as on the CTUIR website at: https://www.ctuircovid.info/

These changes are necessary due to the alarming rate of increase in test positivity on the reservation between the last two weeks of October and the first two weeks of November. In first two weeks of November, Yellowhawk performed 110 tests and had roughly a positive test rate of 10%, as opposed to the last two weeks of October when over 250 tests were conducted with a positivity rate of 5%. Additionally, contact tracers have been facing difficulty in the last week determining the source of 75% of the positive cases, making it clear that there is uncontrolled community spread.

Board of Trustees Chair Kat Brigham once again acknowledged “this virus is causing hardship for many people, both in terms of employment and recreational opportunities, and the overall toll on mental health that results from increased isolation and reduction in social gatherings, but these restrictions are absolutely necessary.”

Chair Brigham added “the virus remains highly communicable and appears to be spreading rapidly as people have gathered indoors more frequently with the cooler, stormy weather that fall is bringing. We need your help to contain it.”

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, 12 Stat. 945. In 1949, the Tribes adopted a constitutional form of government to protect, preserve and enhance the treaty rights guaranteed under federal statute.

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