RAPID CITY – The Great Plains Tribal Chairmen’s Health Board and the Oyate Health Center have begun the implementation of recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) to limit the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19).
If you have questions about COVID-19, the Great Plains Tribal Epidemiology Center has developed an online resource at https://gptec.gptchb.org/covid-19/
For general COVID-19 questions, please contact the South Dakota COVID-19 Information Line: 1-800-997-2880.
For general Oyate Health Center questions, you may contact a representative from the staff: 1-605-787-8904
Although we are still learning how the virus spreads, transmission most likely occurs when people are in close contact (within 6 feet) of each other. The virus can travel from person to person in respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes. It may also be possible that a person can get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their mouth, nose, or possibly their eyes, but this is not thought to be the primary way the virus spreads.
Do not use the main entrance to the Oyate Health Center if you:
- Have been exposed to anyone with the coronavirus (COVID-19).
- Are experiencing fever, coughing or sneezing, difficulty breathing, flu-like symptoms.
We have a separate entrance for our relatives who are experiencing fever, difficulty breathing, or other flu-like symptoms, but it is important that you call 605-787-8904 for further medical guidance prior to visiting the campus.
How can you limit your potential exposure?
- Do not visit any healthcare clinic or hospital if you do not need care.
- Avoid large gatherings and limit your exposure to public areas when possible.
- Do not bring family members or friends with you to your scheduled healthcare appointment or urgent care visit. If possible, enroll in our Pharmacy by Mail service. (Contact 605-355-2211).
- Please call ahead if you are experiencing flu-like symptoms and wish to seek testing and treatment.
- Practice hand washing throughout the day. Avoid touching your face. Cover coughs and sneezes.
- Stay home if you’re sick.
- Limit the number of visitors to your home.
How is the GPTCHB responding to the coronavirus?
- We are currently prescreening all patients via telephone prior to their appointments.
- We are limiting entry points to the Oyate Health Center to limit potential exposure.
- We are hosting a weekly call with tribal leaders to provide them with the latest COVID-19 information.
- We are encouraging our relatives to enroll in our Pharmacy by Mail program. This will keep you from having to visit the clinic for refills.
- We are in the process of creating an alternative entrance and screening area for those who are experiencing flu-like symptoms.
- We have created print resources for tribal health programs to distribute.
How does testing for COVID-19 work?
The screening requires two swabs. These swabs are then sent to the state laboratory, and positives will be confirmed by secure fax within 24 hours. Testing is only done at the State lab. It is not done at local clinics.
There is currently a national shortage of COVID-19 tests. In order to ensure that we can provide testing for those patients who most need it and conserve the supply of COVID-19 testing resources, until more tests are available, patients must meet one or more of the following criteria for COVID-19 testing:
- Symptoms of coughing, difficulty breathing, or fever.
- Documented fever of 100.4 or higher.
- Exam findings of decreased O2 saturation decreased breathing sounds, rales, rhonchi, or wheezing. Patient tests negative for influenza A and B.
- For patients less than six-years-old, a negative RSV test.
- Chest X-ray. (Patients with significant findings on CXR who require transfer for inpatient treatment will not be tested at Oyate Health Center, they will be tested at Monument Health.)