Tribe proactively prepares for spread of coronavirus

Christine Sage, Chairman Southern Ute Indian Tribe
Photo Credit: Jeremy Wade Shockley | Southern Ute Drum

The health, safety, and welfare of the entire tribal membership is of utmost importance to me as we navigate our way through the growing concerns related to the coronavirus disease 2019 or COVID-19. While there are no presumed nor confirmed cases on the Southern Ute Indian Reservation, I have tasked the tribal organization to proactively prepare for the spread of this virus. In the last few days and at my request the tribal staff have thoroughly reviewed potential impacts to the tribal membership including health care services, accessibility to programs and direct services, tribal business, and most importantly the concerning health of our tribal elders and high-risk populations.

In an effort to reduce the exposure of the tribal membership and impacts to the tribal organization, I have restricted all employee business travel effective immediately as well as prevented outside contractors and business to be conducted on the reservation. I have made this decision out of an abundance of caution for the tribe, the tribal membership, and most importantly the tribal elders in hopes to reduce the exposure and contraction of COVID-19. I truly believe our tribal elders should be cared for and looked after; the CDC has identified elderly and those with weakened immune systems are at a higher risk. Any loss to the tribal membership is devastating, and we risk losing our traditions, language, and culture if we do not make every effort to protect our tribal elders.

With tribal members residing both on and off-reservation, the tribe is preparing to assist the tribal membership during this time. Assistance can very depending on location, household, health conditions, etc., and in order to provide the best customer service to the tribal membership, requests should be specific.

Please continue to look for updates on the Tribal Council social media, in the Southern Ute Drum, and on KSUT Tribal Radio, in your mail, and on the tribal websites.

If you are concerned about your symptoms, please contact your primary health care provider or call the Southern Ute Health Center at 970.563.4581 to speak to a health care professional.

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