Local Tribes Notify Residents to Shelter in Place


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Local tribes are also issuing shelter-in-place orders like those in effect in Humboldt County and across the state in response to the COVID-19 outbreak that has gripped the nation and the world.

The Wiyot, Hoopa Valley and Yurok tribes notified members yesterday, asking those living within their respective tribal boundaries to limit time out in the community to essential activities, like grocery shopping or medical visits, while practicing social distancing — meaning to stay at least 6-feet away from others.

Just like the Humboldt County and state orders, workers who perform essential services are exempted. That includes everyone from emergency personnel to grocery clerks. And, no curfew has been put in place.

The Wiyot Tribe release also states that the World Renewal Ceremony has been postponed to next year to protect elders, dancers and their families.

For more details, read the Wiyot Tribe and Yurok Tribe's releases and the Hoopa Valley Tribe declaration at the end of the story.

As of March 19, Humboldt County had not seen any new confirmed cases of COVID-19, with a total of 61 individuals tested by public agencies — six by the Centers for Disease Control and the rest by the Public Health Lab.

(Read more about how the county is prioritizing who gets tested here.)

One person who tested positive last month after traveling to China has since been cleared and another indeterminate case was also cleared. The numbers do not reflect testing done by commercial laboratories and it is unclear when data from those labs will be publicly available.

The county is updating testing numbers and results daily Monday through Saturday and that information can be found here. California, as of 6 p.m. March 19, has a total of 1,006 positive cases and 19 deaths (including one non-California resident). As of the same time, officials also reported that 23,200
tests had been conducted statewide, with results still pending on about 11,700 of them.

What to watch for:
The California Department of Public Health and the Centers for Disease Control, state that symptoms of novel coronavirus include fever, cough and shortness of breath. Emergency warning signs needing immediate medical attention include difficulty breathing or shortness of breath, persistent pain or pressure in the chest, new confusion or inability to awaken and bluish lips or face.

In an emergency situation:
Call ahead to the emergency room or inform the 911 operator of the possibility of a COVID-19 infection and, if possible, put on a face mask. St. Joseph and Redwood Memorial hospitals have opened tents on their campuses to begin screening patients who have “significant” symptoms consistent with the COVID-19 virus. The general hours of operation for the tents is 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. but that is subject to change.

Symptoms or possible exposure:
In the case of a possible exposure with symptoms — fever and cough or shortness of breath — contact your doctor’s office or the county Department of Health and Human Services, which has a hotline that can be reached during business hours at [email protected] or at (707) 441-5000. Residents seeking medical advice or questions about testing are asked to contact Public Health at [email protected] or at (707) 445-6200.

St. Joseph Health has also set up a virtual assessment tool as an aid to assess risk factors for contracting the illness, which can be found at www.providence.org/patients-and-visitors/coronavirus-advisory.

For the Journal's latest COVID stories, updates and information resources, click here.

Release from the Wiyot Tribe:

Loleta— 03/19/2020 —In response to the novel Coronavirus COVID-19 global pandemic, the Wiyot Tribe has issued a Shelter in Place order effective 12:01 pm March 20, 2020 to April 07, 2020 for Table Bluff Reservation. The Tribal government will continue to operate essential programs and maintain critical infrastructure.

On March 16, 2020 the Wiyot Tribe declared a State of Emergency in response to the COVID-19 Coronavirus. On March 15, 2020 the Wiyot Tribe ordered community mitigation strategies prevent the introduction of COVID-19 into the local community and slow the spread of the virus. These strategies include a public health campaign focusing on personal level actions, social distancing protocols, and protective measures.

Tribal Health and Human Services staff have initiated a public health campaign to inform staff, citizens, community members and visitors about personal level actions to reduce the spread of the virus. These personal actions will include not be limited to hand-washing techniques, the symptoms of COVID-19, staying home when sick, respiratory etiquette, limiting visitors and movement within the community, telephoning the doctor’s office in advance of a visit.

All Tribal offices continue to be closed to the public. All meetings, social gatherings, and classes will be postponed until further notice. The World Renewal Ceremony has been postponed to next year to protect elders, dancers and their families. The Tsek Houdaqh Youth program and daily elder’s congregate meal program will be closed. However, the elder’s home meal delivery and school lunch program will be continued using a modified approach using social distancing and increased sanitation procedures.

As it has been recommended by Governor Newsom that all elders over 65 self-isolate, the Tribe is encouraging tribal elders to reach out to the title VI elders’ program for assistance by phone for assistance as needed. The COVID-19 Global pandemic is an evolving health emergency.

The Tribe will continue to monitor available health information provided by County, State, and Federal public health agencies. It is critical that the tribe work to maintain critical infrastructure necessary to maintain the operation of the government and work to protect the introduction of COVID-19 into the local community and slow the spread of the virus.

Release from the Yurok Tribe:
The Yurok Tribe wants all members aware of Governor Newsom's Shelter in Place Order, effective this evening at midnight, 3/19/2020.

To view the full text of the Shelter in Place Order, follow the link provided: https://covid19.ca.gov/stay-home-except-for-essential-needs. These orders are designed to prevent further spread of COVID-19.

To date, California has an estimated 1000 confirmed cases and 19 deaths from the coronavirus. At this time Humboldt County has had one confirmed case and that patient has recovered. The shelter-in-place order directs people to remain at home except for essential outings, such as groceries, supplies, and health care needs. Try to limit visiting family and friends and practice social distancing when having to leave your home.

Yurok OES Pandemic Task Force is currently collecting information to formulate critical needs objectives, as well as strategic planning in order to respond appropriately to compiled elder and community needs. There were several meetings and interagency phone calls for guidance and resource requests. The leadership, and many dedicated staff are tireless in their efforts to mitigate and plan for a very difficult situation.

The Yurok Tribe will be updating public messaging in the upriver and downriver communities, on the Tribe’s Facebook Page, local sandwich board notification stations and soon, the Tribal webpage and a COVID-19 Hotline. The shelter in place recommendations are a mandatory measure to protect our membership, community and the most vulnerable population among us.

Although there are no current confirmed cases in Humboldt or Del Norte County, the Tribal Council is taking this potential risk very seriously and taking proactive measures to protect our community.

As a reminder: The best way to reduce your risk of becoming infected with, or spreading the COVID-19 coronavirus, is to practice Basic Precautions, and we encourage everyone to:

• Wash your hands frequently with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol when soap and water is not available

• Avoid eating, or touching your eyes, nose or mouth with unwashed hands • Avoid close contact with people who are sick

• Stay home if you are sick • Always cover your coughs and sneezes by using a tissue, or the crook of your elbow • Wear a facemask if you are sick.

• Clean AND disinfect frequently touched surfaces daily

If you have any of the following symptoms, contact your regular primary care provider, and let them know if you have been around someone who had COVID-19 coronavirus: • Fever • Cough • Difficulty breathing

The CDC.gov website has the latest guidance and recommendations on COVID-19 coronavirus

For any questions, please contact Serene Hayden, Incident Commander, 707-339-9774 [email protected]


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