RAPID CITY —The Great Plains Tribal Leaders’ Health Board has enacted a policy requiring all employees to receive a Covid-19 vaccination.
In a memo to staff sent on July 21, 2021, Great Plains Tribal Leaders’ Health Board CEO Jerilyn Church announced that employees working under the Health Board banner, including the Great Plains Tribal Epidemiology Center, Oyate Health Center, and the We Are Warriors EOC will be required to be fully vaccinated for Covid-19 by September 21.
Currently, 74% of the Health Board’s staff has received the vaccine, but with numbers on the rise and the emergence of the Delta variant, mandatory vaccinations for all staff is a logical next step for the organization.
“In accordance with GPTLHB’s duty to provide and maintain a workplace that is free of known hazards, GPTLHB has adopted this policy to safeguard the health of our employees and their families, our relatives and visitors, and the community at large from infectious diseases that vaccinations reduce,” said Church.
The Great Plains Tribal Epidemiology Center says also noted that the Delta variant is on the rise, and its impact will be felt across the region. The severity of the damage done by the spread of the Delta variant is highly dependent on immunity in the community. With herd immunity not being reached locally or nationally, hotspots, and super-spreading events can be expected.
Those most protected will be those vaccinated and organizations that have the highest vaccination levels.
In making this decision, recommendations were considered from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) and the local South Dakota Department of Health (SDDOH).
“We are not defenseless against Covid-19. We have the vaccines that have been proven to save lives. We want to encourage everyone to get vaccinated as soon as possible,” added Church.
The Oyate Health Center offers vaccines to the public Monday through Friday from 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM at 725 N. Lacrosse Street in Rapid City.
*Established in 1986, the GPTLHB represents tribal communities in South Dakota, North Dakota, Nebraska, and Iowa. The organization is overseen by the elected tribal leaders of 17- tribal entities in the area. Through public health practices and the formation of tribal partnerships, it works to improve the health of the American Indian peoples through health support, health care advocacy, and direct-patient care at the Oyate Health Center.
COVID Activity Facts:
The current 7-day moving average of new cases (40,246) has increased 47% compared to the previous 7-day moving average (27,443) cases. A total of 34,248,054 COVID-19 cases have been reported as of July 21.
The 7-day moving average of new hospital admissions (3,521) has increased 32.2% compared to the previous 7-day moving average of (2,663). Dates of comparison July 13–July 19 and July 6–July 12. The 7-day moving average for new admissions has consistently increased since June 25, 2021.
The current 7-day moving average of new deaths (223) has increased 9.3% compared with the previous 7-day moving average (204). As of July 21, a total of 607,684 COVID-19 deaths have been reported.
COVID Vaccinations Nationally:
Overall, about 187.2 million people, or 56.4% of the total U.S. population, have received at least one dose of vaccine. About 162.2 million people, or 48.8% of the total U.S. population, have been fully vaccinated. As of July 22, the 7-day average number of administered vaccine doses reported (by date administered) to CDC per day was 291,565, a 35.2% decrease from the previous week.
Vaccination is working. Nationally 97% of hospitalizations have been in those who were unvaccinated, and 99.5% of deaths were in those who were unvaccinated.* Source CDC Director Walensky. CDC Data Tracker Weekly Review” for July 23, 2021.