Alarming Surge in COVID Cases Arises on Umatilla Indian Reservation

Mission, OR – 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.