MISSION, OR – The Board of Trustees, the elected leaders for the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation, today approved a resolution to end the Public Health Emergency declaration on the Umatilla Indian Reservation. The primary effects of this resolution are to dissolve the current Incident Command Team that had been formed to respond to the outbreak of cases that arose through the latter part of the month of September and to revoke the Order that restricted gathering sizes and implemented capacity limits at facilities on the Reservation. The COVID-19 Public Health Emergency will end at 4:00 pm today.
Daily COVID-19 positive cases among the population served by Yellowhawk Tribal Health Center spiked to a high of 26 cases in one day on September 23. This was the highest single day total of positive cases on the Umatilla Indian Reservation since the pandemic began. By September 28, there were a total of 98 active cases of COVID-19 among the Yellowhawk service population, which is the record high for total active cases that the CTUIR has seen since the pandemic began. The Board of Trustees declared the Public Health Emergency on September 24, formed the ICT, implemented the Order to limit gatherings and restrict capacity at tribal facilities, and Yellowhawk ramped up testing with support from the Oregon Health Authority. The CTUIR government administration also provided staff support to assist Yellowhawk staff with the response to the surge in cases.
On October 14, Yellowhawk reported only one new case of COVID-19 and the cumulative total of active cases had dipped to 26.
Despite the end of the official Public Health Emergency, there remains an elevated risk of spread of COVID-19 and good health and safety practices like physical distancing and thorough, frequent hand washing are still critical. Management of each tribal entity including Yellowhawk Tribal Health Center, Wildhorse Resort & Casino, Cayuse Holdings, Nixyaawii Community Financial Services and the Nixyaawii Governance Center will be responsible for issuing safety standards for each facility.
Additionally, the Board of Trustees Order on mandatory mask use remains in effect for all public indoor settings on the Umatilla Indian Reservation until further notice.
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 signed in the Walla Walla Valley. In 1949, the Tribes adopted a constitutional form of government to protect, preserve and enhance the treaty rights guaranteed under federal statute.