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Coronavirus: Questions and answers regarding Tribal operations

Photo Credit: Southern Ute Indian Tribe

What is the Tribe doing to address this crisis?

Recently, the Southern Ute Indian Tribe declared a state of emergency, which may provide for federal financial assistance and allow for the coordination of activities with other local and state governments.  Because the Tribe has declared a state of emergency, an Incident Management Team has been created and is authorized to take action necessary to preserve life and the continuation of tribal government operations.  Specifically, the Incident Management Team has three priorities:

  1. Maintain the health and welfare of the tribal membership and tribal employees.
  2. Maintain the continuity of government.
  3. Mitigate the financial harm to tribal business interests.

The Commander of the Incident Management Team is Ms. Margo Yeager.

Are all Tribal operations shutting down?

No.  The Tribe is not entirely shutting down.

It is important to Tribal Council that certain essential governmental services remain available to the tribal membership and that vital business functions continue to operate on behalf of the Tribal Membership.  Accordingly, the Tribe is working on several plans that will be implemented over the next few days and weeks.  These plans are designed to allow for continued operations, while ensuring the protection and safety of tribal members, tribal employees, and our community.  It is important to emphasize that these plans are based on the CDC’s recommendation for social distancing, which is important in order to slow the spread of the virus.  Social distancing includes limits on person-to-person contact, group meetings, and other social activities.

Under these business continuity plans that are being developed for each of the tribal entities, certain tribal employees will be able to telework, which is working remotely.  Authorization to telework is currently being reviewed to determine who will be eligible.  However, it is planned that the Growth Fund will be the first to implement a Telework Program for employees, which is tentatively set for March 18, 2020.  Business continuity plans for the Permanent Fund, SUSS, and the Casino are currently being developed.  These plans are important because we need to ensure the continuation of all essential government and business functions.

What if I am an employee and not able to Telework?

Working with the Incident Management Team, Tribal Council is reviewing options for employees that may not be able to telework.  Once these plans are finalized, it will be communicated to the tribal employees and the tribal membership.


What about the Casino?

Because of the nature of gaming, which places individuals in close proximity to one another, Tribal Council has agreed to the closure of the gaming floor, effective March 18, 2020 at 8 a.m.  The hotel and one food venue will remain open for hotel guests and community members.

What Departments & Programs are closed?

Effective March 18, 2020, the following programs and departments will be closed until further notice:

  • Southern Ute Indian Montessori Academy
  • Southern Ute Museum
  • SunUte Community Center
  • After School Tutoring Program
  • Code Club Education Program
  • Adult Ed. Excel evening classes
  • Ute Language class noon on Fridays Education Program
  • Sunshine Cloud Smith Youth Advisory Council
  • After School Meetings

Several other community events and programs may be affected.  If you have questions about closures or limited operations, please reach out to the Southern Ute COVID-19 Call Center at 970.563.0214. For medical related questions please dial extensions 2651 and 2654; for general questions please dial extension 2652 and 2667.

Operations with limited services hours

The following are operations that have implemented limited hours:

Southern Ute Health Center

  • Scheduled Urgent Care appointments will be accepted only from 7:30 a.m. until 11:30 a.m., and nursing visits from 12:30 p.m. through 4:30 p.m. Walk-ins will not be accepted, and all patients are required to call ahead for appointments.
  • No sick patients will be accepted at the Dental clinic, please schedule your appointment with the Southern Ute Health Center.
  • All other patient care visits, please call your provider for alternative arrangements.
  • All specialty medicine (psychiatry, rheumatology and nephrology) visits will occur in the Mouache Capote Building, please check-in with the receptionist as required.
  • Pharmacy Hours will be from 8 a.m. until 5 p.m., only window service will be offered, there will be no pharmacy access in the clinic building.
  • All behavioral health patients will not be seen in office, please call your therapist to confirm you appointment and for phone consultation.
  • Patients who are have non-emergent care will receive follow up from their primary care provider.

What happens if I believe I may have COVID-19?

  • If you begin to exhibit the symptoms of COVID-19, it is important that you seek medical advice and if you have been in close contact with a person known to have COVID-19. Seek prompt medical attention if your illness is worsening (such as a difficulty breathing). BEFORE seeking care, call your healthcare provider and tell them that you have, or are being evaluated for COVID-19. Put on a facemask before you enter the facility. This is important to keep other patients in your doctor’s office or healthcare facility from also becoming infected.
  • All suspected COVID-19 patients will be evaluated in the parking lot behind the Southern Ute Health Center as currently required.
  • There is a white tent located behind the Southern Ute Health Center. All patients who exhibit the COVID-19 symptoms will be seen in the tent behind the health center to prevent other patients from possibly contracting the virus.
  • This tent was erected to observe, diagnose, and treat the patients who have potentially contracted the virus. The Southern Ute Health Center is taking the utmost caution when seeing patients to prevent a community spread.
  • Patients who are have non-emergent conditions will be asked to reschedule appointments.


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