Pine Ridge Reservation locked down after first COVID-19 case confirmed
UPDATE: As of 6:00 p.m. Tuesday, April 7, the Pine Ridge Reservation is locked down. Oglala Sioux Tribal President Julian Bear Runner issued an executive order banning virtually all movement on the reservation for 72 hours. Additionally, no non-members of the tribe will be permitted onto the reservation during the lockdown, and enrolled members who live off of the reservation are being asked not to enter the reservation during that period.
Only people who are involved in essential services, those who need to purchase food, medicine, or other household essentials, those traveling to or from a medical appointment, or non-residents leaving the reservation will be permitted to travel.
Additionally, all non-essential businesses as spelled out in the executive order are ordered to close during the lockdown.
President Bear Runner said law enforcement will stop anyone traveling during the lockdown and will issue warnings and fines up to $50 for individuals not engaged in permissible travel. Businesses that do not comply face $100/day fines and possible loss of their tribal business license.
The lockdown is in effect until 6:00 p.m. Friday, April 10.
PINE RIDGE, S.D. – The Pine Ridge Indian Reservation reports its first positive COVID-19 case is an employee of Red Cloud Indian School.
In a Facebook post Tuesday afternoon, Red Cloud’s president, Dr. Raymond Nadolny said in a statement:
“With deep sadness and concern, I need to report that today an employee of Red Cloud Indian School tested positive for the COVID-19 virus. This communication is intended to share all the information we currently have and to ensure the highest level of transparency with our staff, students and families, and community members across the Pine Ridge reservation.”
The employee works at Our Lady of Lourdes School in Porcupine and lives in a single-family home on the campus with the person’s spouse. The couple had traveled to California on March 26 for a medical procedure. They returned the following day and went into quarantine for two weeks, in accordance with the school’s travel guidelines.
“They had no contact with anyone during that time: groceries and other supplies were purchased for them and left outside their door when needed,” says Nadolny.
The person began to show symptoms Friday, April 3 before going to Pine Ridge Hospital for care and was instructed to go to Martin, S.D. to receive a test for COVID-19. After receiving the test, the person returned to quarantine.
Nadolny says the employee received confirmation Tuesday afternoon that “their preliminary COVID-19 test was positive and also began experiencing respiratory distress.” The person is now being treated at a Rapid City hospital along with the persons spouse, who has also been in quarantine since returning from California.
“Thankfully, our employee contacted Red Cloud immediately upon learning of their positive test result, and we in turn immediately contacted the Oglala Sioux Tribe (OST). This afternoon I have been working directly with President Bear Runner and the Department of Emergency Management to ensure all protocols are followed, including the sealing off of this employee’s home, to remove any possible risk of infection. We are and will continue to collaborate closely with OST to protect the health of our staff, students and families, and all community members.”