Youth vaccinations occur in November as Yellowhawk sees cases drop

By Cary Rosenbaum of the CUJ

MISSION – Things have continued to slow down for Yellowhawk Tribal Health Center regarding the battle against COVID-19.

November saw a total of five positive cases, up from October’s total of four — which was a major fall off from the 85 positives just 60 days earlier.

It’s good news, “but,” Interim Yellowhawk CEO Aaron Hines said, “we also know holiday gatherings are happening and not everyone will use the caution we have recommended. … We urge the community to use caution when gathering with people outside of your home.”

With Thanksgiving occurring, Hines said it’s “very likely there will be more cases in the coming weeks. … We are prepared and we are offering testing and vaccines daily in December. If you are feeling ill, our best advice is to get tested — know for sure and stay home until you know and follow the guidance of our COVID team. “Do not spread the virus by being out in the public.”

As of Nov. 30, the United States was searching for traces of the new Omicron variant within its borders. Yellowhawk said it’s frequently concerned by the new variants.

“There is so much that is unknown about this virus,” Hines said. “Unfortunately, it is only a matter of time before new variants are in our community. Being prepared is vital.

“Prepare by getting vaccinated, using caution when out in public by wearing a mask and keeping distance from those you are not frequently around will help limit people’s exposure. If you are sick, or feel unwell please call and get an appointment to be tested and isolate until further notice by your provider.”

One successful effort Yellowhawk completed in November was administering nearly 50 pediatric patients. A second shot will occur Dec. 4. Hines said Yellowhawk is still welcoming those that missed their first shot to come get it that day.

“Our vaccination team shined today, working hard and making new friends with our younger age group in the community,” YHTC wrote on its social media page. “A great group today. Don’t forget you can schedule your vaccination by calling us at (541)240- 8733.”

Some CTUIR members like 10-year-old Luka Worden made their own decision to get vaccinated during the event.

“Luka is 10 and watches the news and made her own decision to get it as soon as possible to stop the spread and protect others,” her father Aaron Worden said. A new demographic can make their decision now, too.

Yellowhawk announced Nov. 30 that employees can now get their third shot booster and their children are eligible for pediatric vaccinations.

To increase availability, vaccines are now available at Yellowhawk Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. – 3:30 p.m. Appointments are required and can be made by calling 541-240-8733.

As of Nov. 30, Yellowhawk diagnosed a total of 684 cases, including five deaths; conducted 5,635 tests; and reported a known vaccination rate of 48 percent.