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Oglala Sioux Tribe approves Pine Ridge lockdown

The flag of the Oglala Sioux Tribe.
The flag of the Oglala Sioux Tribe.(OST)
Published: Oct. 21, 2020 at 11:59 AM MDT|Updated: Oct. 22, 2020 at 11:58 AM MDT
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RAPID CITY, S.D. (KOTA) -In a 15-4-2 vote, tribal leadership moved forward with plans to lock down the Pine Ridge Reservation for seven days in response to an increase of COVID-19 cases.

The lockdown begins at 10 p.m. Oct. 23 and goes till 6 a.m. Oct. 30. Tribal leadership decided this after more than seven hours of discussion Wednesday.

As part of the plan laid out by the OST COVID-19 Response Taskforce, the infectious disease plan has the reservation in Phase 3. Phase 3 activated when the reservation exceeded 200 active COVID-19 cases, and on-reservation healthcare could not “handle the number active COVID-19 cases.”

According to the South Dakota Department of Health’s COVID-19 dashboard data, Oglala Lakota County had 305 active cases Wednesday and a total of 641 cases. The cumulative positive rate is 10.6%. Pine Ridge IHS hospital has 14 patients with COVID-19 occupying beds, according to the state health officials.

A lockdown, defined by the taskforce, means no one will travel on or off the reservation for seven days. BIA and tribal roads, as well as nonessential businesses, will close. People must work from home, to “the greatest extent possible,” according to the ordinance.

Essential employees and services supporting the Tribe’s critical infrastructure of the tribe are not included in the lockdown. Additionally, tribal leaders outlined plans to provide elders food and ensure mental health care for tribal residents.

During the seven-day lockdown, the tribe will have travel pass applications available. Once completed, the OST COVID-19 Response Taskforce will approve them via email ostcovidpass@gmail.com.

More information can be found on the tribe’s Coronavirus Taskforce Facebook page.

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