Fourth Wave: COVID-19 cases spike in MAY

MISSION – After a sudden surge in COVID-19 cases at the start of May, Yellowhawk Tribal Health Center saw a sharp decline. Of the 23 cases diagnosed on the Umatilla Indian Reservation, 18 were school-aged. Nine were diagnosed on one day alone on May 10.

Following the increase, the Incident Command Team advised parents to keep students home for one week of online learning or keep them off the bus.

“There was a surge and it was handled by Yellowhawk very well,” Interim Executive Director Paul Rabb said, noting Yellowhawk was conducting contact tracing of 119 individuals. “Overall, I feel
pretty comfortable with the status of the community.”

The Board of Trustees voted on May 24 to extend the Public Health Emergency until July 30. A work session has been scheduled for the week of July 12 regarding the declaration.

“We must cooperate and continue to do our part to get out of this emergency,” BOT Chair Kat Brigham said in a May 12 press release.

“People are experiencing a bigger range of symptoms so it makes getting vaccinated even more urgent.”

The total number of COVID-19 cases diagnosed by Yellowhawk has now reached 279 since testing began last year. Memorial Day weekend was of concern for Yellowhawk.

“We are hopeful that families were observant of guidelines,” Yellowhawk Tribal Health Center Interim CEO Aaron Hines said. “We continue to encourage persons to get tested if needed and get

Hines noted Yellowhawk is offering vaccinations to eligible persons 12 and older, and employees of CTUIR entities, on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 12:30
p.m. to 3:30 p.m.