Tribe and Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment: COVID-19 recovery and viral testing


The Southern Ute Indian Tribe’s most important resource is the enrolled Southern Ute tribal members and without its members the Tribe would not exist. On Wednesday, March 25, 2020 the Southern Ute Indian Tribal Council in collaboration with the Southern Ute Indian Tribe Incident Management Team (IMT) issued the “Stay at Home” Order prioritizing the health and safety of the tribal elders, high-risk and immune-compromised members, youth and the entire tribal membership. 

At the beginning of the pandemic, the IMT furiously worked to purchase and collect personal protective equipment (PPE), testing kits, and funding to adequately respond to the coronavirus outbreak and to prepare for the unknown events in the coming weeks.  

The IMT developed an agreement with the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) to mobilize a team of qualified health professionals with resources, testing kits, and PPE to conduct free, voluntary drive-thru viral testing for enrolled Southern Ute tribal members and immediate family members. 

A viral test will be conducted to determine individuals who are currently infected with the coronavirus. This is very different from the anti-body testing which will not be conducted at this time. The viral test will help determine how wide-spread the virus is, identify hot-spots within our community, and aide in the tribal priority of keeping our tribal member safe.  Approximately 2,000 tests will be conducted over a 3-day period. Tests are not mandatory, but voluntary for those who wish to have a test performed. Tribal members and immediate household members (including non-enrolled tribal members) can elect to have the test performed. 

Tribal members are encouraged to wear face masks when participating in the viral drive-thru test administration. 

Drive-thru viral testing will be performed throughout three days, beginning on Tuesday, June 9, beginning at 8 a.m. in the Sky Ute Casino Resort overflow parking lot (between the Sky Ute Casino Resort and the TERO building). Please see the attached map detailing the testing area and testing process, which identifies the entrances, check-in, testing tents where viral test swabs will be collected, and the exit. 

For maximum efficiency, the IMT has developed a testing schedule modeling the schedule used during both spring and fall cleanup. Further, tribal residential areas have been identified by approximate household size and number of approximate daily testing capabilities. 

For example: Tribal members residing in Cedar Point East, West, and Townhomes will test on Tuesday, June 9, from 8 a.m. until 5 p.m. Tribal elders and tribal members with vulnerabilities are eligible for voluntary testing priority daily from 8 9 a.m. 

If you are unable to be tested on the date identified in the schedule, please contact the Southern Ute Health Center to schedule an appointment to be tested. To schedule an appointment, please call (970) 563.4581. 

All individuals who are electing to be tested are required to complete a mandatory Testing and Demographics Release form. Parents and guardians must complete a form for all children in the household. Forms are available on social media, the tribal website, Tribal Member Portal, and at the entrance of the drive-thru testing. Tribal Information Services will be at the Check-In station verifying enrollment. Please bring your completed form to expedite the testing process. 

Tribal elders and tribal members who are immobilized or unable to drive to the drive-thru testing location may dispatch assistance by calling the Southern Ute Indian Tribe COVID-19 Call Center at (970) 563.0214 to arrange for transportation. The Call Center hours of operation are Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. until 5 p.m. 

The viral testing will be available to the tribal membership on June 9-11, from 8 a.m. until 5 p.m. Priority will be given to Tribal elders and tribal members with self-diagnosed vulnerabilities the first hour of each day from 89 a.m. Please see the viral testing procedures below: 

Entrance to the drive-thru testing area is accessible from both Colorado Highway 172 and County Road 517. Follow cones that will be placed for traffic control. Tribal members are required to stay inside their vehicles. 

Testing and Demographics Release form are required to be completed for every individual electing to receive the viral test. If you require time to complete the form, please notify staff immediately. 

Vehicles will be instructed to follow the serpentine traffic control marked using traffic cones then into one of three testing lanes as directed by staff. 

Staff will direct tribal members to place their vehicles in park, collect Testing and Demographics Release form and perform viral test on each individual requesting to be tested. 

Staff will direct tribal members to exit the testing area upon completion. Vehicles should exit the overflow parking lot and drive south on Ouray Drive between the Southern Ute Museum and Justice & Regulatory Building to County Road 517. 

All follow-up results will be provided to individuals who get tested. Test results are available within 5-7 days. The Southern Ute Health Center will follow-up with individuals who elect to be tested during the voluntary drive-thru viral testing to share the results of their test along with recommendations for care. If your test results are positive, you will receive a call with recommendations for care and tips for proper health safety precautions. If your test results are negative, you will receive a call and tips for proper health safety precautions. 

We would like to reiterate that the viral tests are voluntary and available to enrolled Southern Ute tribal members and their immediate family member (including those who are not enrolled). Please bring your completed Testing and Demographics Release form on the day of testing. If you do not have a Testing and Demographics Release form prior to arrival at the testing area, one will be provided to you at the Check-In station.  If you have questions, please contact the Southern Ute Indian Tribe’s COVID-19 Call Center 

Tribal members who are unable to participate in the voluntary drive-thru viral testing may have the test performed at the Southern Ute Health Center by appointment. 

If you are sick, please self-isolate. If your symptoms begin to worsen, please call your primary healthcare provider or the Southern Ute Health Center. Do not arrive at your primary health care provider office without calling to notify the professionals of your symptoms. 

Please continue to practice good hygiene by washing your hands with soap and warm water for 20 seconds, cough and sneeze into the bend of your elbow or in a tissue then throw the tissue away. Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects in your home. As a reminder, the Tribal “Stay at Home” Order remains in effect until further notice. Please stay home only leaving for essential activities. When you must leave your home, wear a face mask, continue to practice social distancing staying six feet away from others. Stay connected with your loved ones and our tribal elders. 

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