FORT HALL — The Tribal Office of Emergency Management officially reports 14 new COVID-19 cases on the Fort Hall Reservation, bringing the total to 84 overall positive cases since the pandemic started in early April. Of the 84 cases, 29 are currently being monitored, 44 have recovered, two are currently hospitalized and one confirmed death. Test results are compiled and reported by the Fort Hall Indian Health Clinic and Community Health Center.
The Fort Hall Indian Health Clinic conducted 14 tests on Monday, and seven came back positive. Of the seven, three are Shoshone-Bannock individuals on the reservation and the remaining four are Native Americans living off the reservation. On Tuesday 32 tests were conducted and five came back positive as of 3:20 p.m.
HRSA also completed 25 tests Saturday and five tests on Monday, receiving one positive result from Saturday and one positive from Monday; these numbers have been added to the total positive/monitored cases. To date, 395 tests have been completed by the Community Health Center/HRSA.
Last week, the Fort Hall Clinic set a regional record by conducting 35 tests in one day for a single Abbott ID NOW machine. The machine is a rapid molecular COVID-19 testing machine that allows for fast diagnosis in less than 15 minutes. The Fort Hall Clinic has the testing capacity to conduct 20-25 tests per day with a quick turnaround time. In the region, the clinic has the fastest testing in comparison to the local health centers. The clinic also announced hiring a new lab tech, a new physician assistant and a new licensed practical nurse. The clinic currently has 61 Abbott test kits left and are waiting on supplies to re-stock from the Portland area office.
Tribal health officials are seeing COVID-19 affect our local elders by direct contact with a positive case from within their home. The Tribal Office of Emergency Management stresses to the younger generation to please wear a face mask when you are outside of your home and wash your hands when you return home. If you feel sick, quarantine yourself from your elderly family members and call the Fort Hall Clinic at 208-238-5400 to speak with a health official to get tested.
According to tribal health officials, if you are contacted by a contact tracer, the individual will be instructed to isolate and schedule testing immediately. COVID-19 symptoms include fever (temperature 100.4 degrees or higher), cough, shortness of breath, headache, muscle and body aches, sore throat, fatigue/extreme tiredness, gastrointestinal symptoms (nausea, vomiting, diarrhea), and loss of taste and smell. Each of our tribal health centers, including the Indian Health Service, Tribal Health and HRSA have tribal contact tracers actively monitoring positive individuals. Due to the increase of positive cases, contract tracers are being hired at HRSA and Tribal Health.
We encourage families to help do their part by communicating with loved ones about taking action to implement good habits to prevent the spread of germs.
Here are some helpful tips:
— Avoid close contact with people who are sick. Stay at home if you are sick, except to get medical care.
— Wear a face mask. The tribes now mandate a face mask to be worn in all tribal facilities.
— Avoid public gatherings. The recommendation from the Centers for Disease Control is 10 people or less — this includes birthday gatherings, family BBQs, sweat lodges, peyote meetings, partying, etc.
— Wash hands often with soap and water for 20 seconds, especially after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing or having been in a public place. Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue. If soap and water are not available, use a hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.
— Avoid touching your face, nose, eyes, etc.
— Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces in your home.
— Avoid all non-essential travel to hot spots outside of your area.
For any health concerns, please call the Fort Hall Indian Health Service at 208-238-5400 (Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.) or Community Health Center 208-478-3987.
Please note there has been an increase in phone calls, so please be patient with both health facilities. For tribal resources check out the tribes' COVID-19 website at www.sbtribes.com and click on COVID-19. For general questions about COVID-19 in Idaho, call the hotline at 1-888-330-3010.