A graph from Okanogan County Public Health shows spikes in COVID-19 cases in the county following long weekends over the summer. Tribal numbers have followed the trend.

What community members choose to do this weekend could literally “make or break” the next few months in terms of what the future holds for stopping the spread of COVID-19 on the Colville Indian Reservation and throughout the state and country.  The community’s commitment to staying safe and staying healthy, protecting their families and elders, has brought the spread of COVID-19 to a slow crawl, but choices that community members make this weekend are critically important to keeping it that way.  The HHS staff and I echo the wise words of the CDC team in their briefing to the public last night saying that it is now more important than ever to practice social distancing and to renew our commitment to preventing the spread by foregoing large gatherings and instead opting to spend our holiday safely with our families or engaged in safe independent outdoor activities.  Don’t let the fruits of your “labor” and the many sacrifices you’ve made over the last few months go to waste.  Practice social distancing and prevent a new outbreak of COVID-19.  

Here are some tips for safe gatherings:

  • Keep gatherings very small, 5 people or less
  • Stay outdoors
  • Configure seating to stay 6 feet apart
  • Consider Bring Your Own Beverage/Snacks: avoid sharing drinks or dipping out of communal containers
  • Bathroom trips inside: open windows inside to increase ventilation, wear a mask inside, use liquid soap and paper towels with strips pre-separated, set out hand sanitizer for people to clean their hands before they go inside, and limit to one person inside the house at a time
  • Make a plan ahead of time, and stick to it. Let’s enjoy the holiday weekend in a COVID-19 safe way!

Public safety measures remain in place on the Colville Reservation

  • The closure of the Colville Reservation to non-essential visitors, through December 31. All outdoor recreation activities such as camping, fishing, hunting and hiking are permitted only for tribal members and their immediate families who are all residents of the Colville Reservation.
  • The prohibition of public gatherings or camping in groups of 10 or more people through September 30.
  • The stay at home order for residents of the Colville Reservation through September 30.
  •  The prohibition of non-essential business activity on the Colville Reservation through September 30

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