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Oglala Sioux Tribe orders members to 'shelter in place' due to COVID-19
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Oglala Sioux Tribe orders members to 'shelter in place' due to COVID-19

Alicia Mousseau

Alicia Mousseau

Due to an increase in the number of active COVID-19 cases among tribal members, the Oglala Sioux Tribe has entered risk level red, meaning all tribal members on the Pine Ridge Reservation to shelter in place.

The Tribal Council had amended the tribe's shelter in place ordinance in May 2021 with risk levels based on the spread of the virus. Red is reached when two of the folling criteria are reached: weekly positivity rate is over 10%, active cases increase for more than five consecutive days, new cases top 20 in a two-week period, there is a shortage in hospital staff or PPE, or there is a sustained increase in hospitalizations.

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According to the OST Health Administration, there has been 58 new cases of COVID-19 over the most recent 14-day period and there are 64 active cases on the reservation. The shelter-in-place order only allows essential businesses to operate at 25% capacity; essential travel; essential activities for food, supplies and medical care; essential government services; telework; and distance learning for schools. In addition, no gatherings of more than 10 people are allowed and there is a mask mandate.

The red level means businesses can only operate at 25% capacity,residents should shelter in place, only essential travel and activities are allowed, telework is required, only essential government services operate, no gatherings of 10 or more people are allowed and a mask mandate is in place.

OST Vice President Alicia Mousseau was directed by the council's education committee to send a letter to schools to request a safety and reopening plan from each of them. 

"Following these laws that were put in place to protect the Oyate from the COVID-19 virus, the schools on the Pine Ridge Reservation submitted their individual school's reopening plans to the Education Committee and are following their plans for the Red Risk Level, which all schools indicate in their reopening plan that they will be distance learning/virtual without sports," Mousseau said.

Contact Nathan Thompson at

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