Coronavirus (COVID-19) - Yellowhawk Tribal Health Center
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Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Mission, OR – The Yellowhawk Tribal Health Center Public Health Incident Command, in consultation
with Local, State and Federal public health agencies has determined that the risk of exposure to
coronavirus at Wildhorse Resort and Casino is minimal.

On March 2, 2020, The Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation (CTUIR) Board of
Trustees was informed by the Governor’s Office via the Oregon Health Authority that a staff member
of Wildhorse Resort and Casino had tested presumptive positive for novel coronavirus (COVID-19).
The nature of the employee’s function at the casino was such that patrons and most employees would
have had minimal direct contact and thus minimal risk of exposure to coronavirus from this
employee. Based on the public health investigation thus far, no source for the employee’s infection
has been identified and no new cases have been detected.

Local, State and Federal public health agencies continue to report that the risk for infection with
COVID-19 continues to be low in Oregon, including the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian
Reservation and Umatilla County. Yellowhawk Tribal Health Center Public Health Incident Command is
advised by public health authorities from both Umatilla and Walla Walla Counties that there are
currently no known positive cases of COVID-19 in any resident of the CTUIR.

By order of the CTUIR Board of Trustees, the Tribe’s Incident Command Structure was activated on
March 2, 2020. Yellowhawk Tribal Health Center staff are leading the response and investigation of
COVID-19 on the reservation with support from Tribal Government staff. CTUIR facilities, including
those that were initially ordered closed for cleaning and sanitization (Nixyaawii Community School,
Head Start, and Daycare) and Wildhorse Resort and Casino have re-opened. The Nixyaawii Senior
Center will remain closed until Monday, March 9, 2020, however, elder meal deliveries are provided
upon request.

The novel coronavirus (COVID-19) is a virus strain that has only spread in people since December
2019. The virus is spread from one person to another through the air by coughing and sneezing,
close personal contact, such as touching or shaking hands and touching an object or surface with
the virus on it, then touching your mouth, nose, or eyes.

To help prevent the spread of this virus, the flu and common cold please:
• Wash hands often with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds. If not available, use hand
sanitizer.
• Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands.
• Avoid contact with people who are sick.
• Stay home while you are sick and avoid close contact with others by not attending large events.
• Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or sleeve when coughing or sneezing.

The Yellowhawk Tribal Health Center Public Health Incident Command is coordinating the response to
this event with the State of Oregon, Umatilla County and Walla Walla County. Public safety is a
primary concern of the CTUIR. All efforts are being taken to ensure the health and safety of the
community is protected.

The Yellowhawk Tribal Health Center Public Health Incident Command will be providing information as
it becomes available. Additional information about the virus and how to take necessary precautions
can be found at: https://www.oregon.gov/oha. A hotline has been established to answer questions and
concerns by dialing 211.

Contact:

Yellowhawk Tribal Health Center: Carrie Sampson-Samuels, Public Health Information Officer,
541-240-8728; carriesampson@yellowhawk.org

Northwest Portland Area Indian Health Board: Victoria Warren-Mears, Director NW Tribal Epidemiology
Center, 503-998-6063; vwarrenmears@npaihb.org

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