RAPID CITY — Today is the first day there are more new cases of COVID-19 in Pennington County than in Minnehaha County. The Oyate Health Center is reporting more new cases this week.
Jerilyn Church, CEO of the Great Plains Tribal Chairmen’s Health Board, talks about these numbers in her weekly community briefing.
“Anpetu wašté Oyate Health Center relatives. Jerilyn LeBeau Church emaciyape ksto, I join you today to share our weekly Oyate Health Center COVID-19 community briefing.
Since our last talk, the Oyate Health Center has conducted 89 COVID-19 tests. Of those tests, 9 were new positives. To this date, OHC has seen a total of 31 positive cases with the first appearing on May 3. The South Dakota Department of Health has listed Pennington County’s total for positive COVID-19 cases at 74.
If the data provided by the state is accurate and up-to-date, Oyate Health Center patients represent 42% of all COVID-19 cases in Pennington County. This number does not include Native American people living in Rapid City who choose to access care outside of our network. This trend is very concerning. Tribal citizens only account for approximately 12%-24% of Rapid City’s total population.
While we continue to wait for the release of COVID-19 response funding to activate the temporary homeless shelter at the Civic Center, we have made alternative arrangements to help our relatives who do not have a safe environment to quarantine. If you have a relative who is homeless and is sick, please have them contact the OHC.
We will provide timely and accurate information to our stakeholders as new information becomes available. When we verify information that can prevent the spread of COVID-19, we will relay this information to all of you as soon as possible.
We are encouraging all our relatives who are experiencing symptoms such as coughing, difficulty breathing, fever, sore throat or sudden loss of taste or smell, to get tested at the OHC Southwest Screening Clinic which is open 7:00 AM to 11:00 PM 7 days a week.
If you are non-symptomatic and need care, please take advantage of our Telehealth and Telephone Medical Visits. We also continue to offer Curbside Pharmacy Pick-up and our Meds-by-Mail Service.
Remember, being a good relative is checking on our elders, reassuring our wakanyaja. Sheltering at home, social distancing, frequent hand-washing, and wearing a mask if you need to be in public.
We pray that our Oyate remain safe and healthy. We will get through this together.
For more updates from the Great Plains Tribal Chairmen’s Health Board you can visit there Facebook page.
For COVID-19 information please visit the Great Plains Tribal Epidemiology Center. https://gptec.gptchb.org/covid-19/
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