RAPID CITY – The Oyate Health Center’s mass COVID-19 testing event went off without a hitch this past weekend in Rapid City. In total 187 tribal-citizens were tested, with only 3 returning positive for the virus.
“This mass testing presented us with an opportunity to provide services to many in our community who have very legitimate concerns about the virus. We want to thank our relatives who attended for their patience and desire to protect their health,” said Jerilyn Church, CEO of the Great Plains Tribal Chairmen’s Health Board.
The event was orchestrated by the Oyate Health Center who partnered with Sanford Lab and the Northern Plains lab out of Bismarck, ND. The Indian Health Service also helped to provide supplemental testing equipment.
The Health Board leveraged employees from the Great Plains Tribal Epidemiology Center, the We Are Warriors EOC, Oyate Health Center, and its central-office staff to pull off the highly complex task of providing testing to close to 200 people.
“The quality and professionalism of our staff was on full display this past weekend. It took tremendous skill and effort to acquire supplies, execute the testing, and quickly analyze the results. All the credit goes to them,” said Jerilyn Church, CEO of GPTCHB.
Two more testing events are currently in the planning stages, added Church.
The Great Plains Tribal Chairmen’s Health Board (GPTCHB) and the Oyate Health Center have taken lead roles in demonstrating how a health organization can best respond to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The organization’s weekly community update has set the bar for public health transparency in western South Dakota and the We Are Warriors EOC provides daily assistance to tribal nations and their citizens living in Rapid City. The mass testing event demonstrated the organization’s ability to continue to provide exemplary health services to tribal citizens living in Rapid City.