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COVID-19 case identified on Vermilion reservation near Tower

Jun 20, 2020 05:46AM ● By Editor
By David Colburn of the Tower Timberjay - June 19, 2020

Bois Forte Tribal Chairwoman Cathy Chavers took to the tribal YouTube channel today, Friday, June 19, to announce that a positive case of COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus, has been identified in the Vermilion sector of the reservation.

“The individual is quarantined,” Chavers said in the recorded presentation. “We are in contact with the state of Minnesota and we have our public health nurse Teri Morrison doing the contact tracing.”

Chavers alluded to an incident this morning, without providing details, as she announced a resolution unanimously passed today by tribal council imposing strict penalties for anyone violating an order to quarantine.

“There have been some concerns since yesterday with regard to the quarantine of the individual and their family members,” Chavers said. She also said that bureau officers were involved in a call this morning.

According to the quarantine resolution posted on the Bois Forte website, the tribe will first work with affected individuals and families to seek voluntary compliance with quarantine recommendations. The Director of Bois Forte Health and Human Services department may also request that a formal quarantine order be issued.

If a formal quarantine order has been issued for any reservation resident who has tested positive for COVID-19, exhibits symptoms of COVID-19, or has come into close contact with another person who is confirmed or suspected to have COVID-19, the potential penalties are steep.

“The resolution will state that any band member who knowingly and willfully does not abide to the quarantine order will lose all tribal rights, which will include hunting, fishing, ricing, gathering, leasing, per capita, and COVID dollars that are coming available for a period of two years,” Chavers said.

The final resolution also includes possible loss of housing privileges and imposition of a $1,000 fine for a first violation. A second violation could result in loss of tribal benefits for up to five years and a maximum $2,000 fine.

Chavers noted that exceptions for medical or safety emergencies, such as a fire or domestic issues, would not be considered violations.

“We want people to know this is a serious issue,” she said. “We have a lot of elders and a lot of high-rish population out there that in the event individuals leave their quarantine residence, it poses a serious threat to all the members of our reservation.

Chavers said the resolution was being distributed door-to-door throughout the reservation this afternoon.

Chavers also emphasized that the tribe stands ready to help those who have to be quarantined.

“If there’s something you need, call. We will help you,” she said.

Members should call Public Health Nurse Teri Morrison at 218-750-2227 for assistance. If individuals have concerns about possible violations of a quarantine order, Chavers said they should call 911, rather than calling officers directly.

The Vermilion Lake sector of the reservation includes the Fortune Bay Resort and Casino, as well as the The Wilderness golf course.

The complete resolution, including detailed information about quarantine policies and practices, can be found here:

To read the original story and related articles, follow this link to the Tower Timberjay website.,16483

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