GREAT FALLS — As of the morning of Monday, October 5, there are now 312 active COVID-19 cases on the Blackfeet Reservation - more than double the number reported last Tuesday - according to the Blackfeet Covid-19 Incident Command.
A two-week stay-at-home/quarantine order remains in effect on the Blackfeet Reservation due to the surge in COVID-19 cases. The order will remain in effect through October 13th.
Last Tuesday, there were 150 active cases on the Blackfeet Reservation.
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James McNeely, public information officer for the Blackfeet Nation, told MTN News the goal of the shutdown is to reduce the number of non-essential gatherings, which have contributed to a spike in coronavirus cases over the past several weeks.
Here is the full text of the order from the Blackfeet Covid-19 Incident Command:
STAY AT HOME/QUARANTINE ORDERS FOR THE BLACKFEET RESERVATION SEPTEMBER 28 - OCTOBER 13, 2020
1. BLACKFEET TRIBAL OFFICES CLOSURE. The Blackfeet Tribal Business Council hereby closes all tribal programs as directed under the attached List and memos issued by the Blackfeet Personnel Department.
2. STAY AT HOME ORDER FOR RESIDENTS OF THE BLACKFEET RESERVATION. All persons are ordered to Stay Home. Persons found to be engaged in the following illegal activities shall be fined a minimum of $500.00 per occurrence: House Parties, Loitering, Soliciting, or engaged in unapproved gatherings. Employment travel to and from the Reservation is exempt from this order for purposes of employment. The Blackfeet Revenue Department shall issue tags for such travel.
3. APPROVED ACTIVITIES. All residents on the Blackfeet Reservation are required to Stay at Home unless engaged in essential activities as follows:
- obtain medical services;obtain food or medicine;to engage in spiritual, mental, physical and emotional well-being;only residents of the Blackfeet Reservation are permitted to engage in outdoor activities with members from within the same household or established cohorts as recommended by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). “Cohort” is defined as: smaller groups formed out of a larger organization of persons for the purpose of engaging in legal activity for the same period of time, with the goal of reducing risk of infection from the Coronavirus; and, in the event one cohort is exposed to the virus, remainder cohort groups can continue to participate in the activity; andResidents are encouraged to engage in walks, hiking, fishing, etc. Such activity should not amount to large groups or extended family groups where risk of infection increases.
4. SOCIAL DISTANCING ORDER. All persons are mandated to distance at six (6) feet from each other while wearing a mask, with the exception of those persons who are members of the same household. “Household” is defined as those members of a household who were living in the same dwelling unit during the past fourteen (14) days. Persons knowingly in violation of this Order shall be fined $500.00 per occurrence.
5. PROHIBITION ON INDOOR GATHERINGS. Indoor gatherings shall be limited to household members or approved cohorts and businesses under the current business regulation order. Spiritual gatherings engaged in closed contact between persons shall be limited to virtual or remote attendance. Persons knowingly in violation of this Order shall result in a $500 fine per occurrence.
6. MASKS REQUIRED IN ALL AREAS OF THE BLACKFEET RESERVATION. All persons on the Blackfeet Reservation are required to wear masks at all times while in public (where social distancing cannot be maintained), with the exception for children under two (2) years of age. Masks are available through the Blackfeet Tribal Office Main Lobby. Persons not wearing a mask after warning shall be fined $500.00.
7. CURFEW AMENDMENT FROM 9 PM to 6 AM. Curfew shall be from 9 PM to 6 AM each day. Violations of Curfew shall result in a minimum of $500.00 Fine per occurrence.
8. COURT ENFORCEMENT FOR ISOLATION/QUARANTINE PUBLIC HEALTH ORDERS. Amendment #3 to Ordinance #121 requires enforcement of all public health isolation/quarantine orders by the Blackfeet Tribal Court. Persons not following the public health orders will be subject to further legal action requiring violators to be legally detained and face further criminal action not to exceed 3 years in jail and/or $5,000.00 fine per occurrence.
9. DAILY BRIEFING TO THE PUBLIC. The Blackfeet Incident Command shall issue a daily briefing to the public on current COVID-19 issues.
10. EXPIRATION OF THIS ORDER. expires on October 13th to which the Blackfeet Tribe will implement its Phased Plan by October 9th.
There were 212 new cases and four new deaths added to the state total on the Montana COVID-19 tracking site on Monday morning. The data below is from the official Montana website on October 5:
- TOTAL CASES & RECOVERIES: Montana now reports 14,847 cumulative cases statewide, with 9,649 people recovered.
- HOSPITALIZATIONS: The state reports 201 current hospitalizations, and a cumulative total of 754 hospitalizations.
- ACTIVE CASES: The state reports there are currently 5,008 active COVID-19 cases in Montana.
- TESTING: The number of tests increased by 12,562 over the previous 24-hour reporting period, for a new cumulative state-wide total of 369,975.
- DEATHS: The cumulative number of deaths in Montana is at 190.
Numbers reported by the state each day occasionally differ from those reported by county public health departments due to periodic lag times in reporting data to the state. We encourage people to check the official website and/or Facebook page of their respective county health department for any information that is not yet included in the state's daily updates.
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It's important to note that not every person who tests positive actually becomes ill or exhibits symptoms. Many do not; of those who do become sick, some experience mild symptoms and do not require hospitalization. Others, however, do require hospitalization, as noted in the daily update on the number of people hospitalized. However, every person who does test positive for COVID-19 has the potential to spread the virus to other people, including family members and friends, which is why public health officials continue to encourage everyone to wear a mask and maintain a recommended six feet of "social distance" when in public.