LLBO IMT Statement on Recent Increase of COVID-19 on Leech Lake

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In response to the recent increase in COVID 19 cases on the Leech Lake Reservation, the Incident Management Team and Tribal Leadership want to share with you what we are doing to respond to this rapidly evolving increase in COVID 19 cases within the Leech Lake Reservation boundaries. To date, we have 27 active cases on reservation and 107 total cases, compared to 3 active cases on reservation and 65 total cases, just 2 weeks ago. Some of these cases will of course end their isolation and quarantine period soon but we will most likely see additional cases rise at a much slower pace. 

Our Incident Management Team, which continues to be active each week, held an emergency meeting to discuss the increase in cases and activate a response. We have also included our local Indian Health Service in the discussion to update the team on the COVID 19 testing strategy. 

We assure you our contact tracing and investigation team, in collaboration with Indian Health Service contact tracers, is activated and responding immediately to newly identified cases. They are also active following up with individuals in isolation and quarantine. They have been extremely valuable making sure isolation and quarantine guidelines are based on Leech Lake Tribal Health, Center for Disease Control and MN Department Health recommendations. 

Our highest priority is to protect our community members and Staff. We want to emphasize we are doing everything in our control to attack this current spike in cases and reduce the impact on all of our communities within the Leech Lake Reservation. 

We respectfully ask our community members and local businesses to help and support our efforts by taking every precaution to help reduce the transmission of this virus. As an example, we are asking our community members to answer your phone if a contact tracer calls you. We are asking you to follow the guidelines and take quarantine and isolation recommendations extremely serious. Every employee and community member must be mindful of actions and behaviors that put each other at risk for infecting others with this virus.  

We know the spikes in cases throughout the spring and summer are due to events, gatherings or venues that bring many people together. It only takes one person who is infectious with the COVID 19 virus to spread to others who were in attendance at the event or gathering. We must continue to wash our hands, social distance and clean and disinfect areas and surfaces that are frequently used or touched.  

MASK UP LEECH LAKE!!! This is proven as the best practice to protecting your family, our family, our elders and our community!!! We will continue to mandate masks in every LLBO business and workplace as a continued response to reducing the transmission of this virus. 

We want you to know, the Incident Management Team with Tribal Council support will be taking this time to pause to ensure we are doing our best to ensure the safety and health of our elders, community members and employees. We will review our employee safety plans, re-assess IMT strategies using the most up to date, guidance and resources available from Tribal, Local, State and Federal Health organizations. We also respectfully encourage you to review your own personal and family safety plans to help fight this pandemic. 

On a positive note, contact tracing and case investigations have not shown any positive cases linked to our gaming enterprises or related to the 2020 wild rice harvest and purchasing operations. 

If you suspect you have been exposed to COVID 19 or have a fever, cough or respiratory symptoms, please call the COVID Hotline at 218-335-3426 or 335-3427, Monday through Friday, 8:00am to 4:30pm or if in case of emergency dial 911 if your symptoms become severe.  

Miigwech 

Incident Management Team 

Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe 

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