Wind River Reservation COVID Quarantine Camp is operating again

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By Clair McFarland, Cowboy State Daily

A “quarantine camp” designed to house passing members of the Northern Arapaho Indian tribe who test positive for COVID is operational again.

After a brief shutdown, the camp on the Wind River Indian Reservation reopened about three weeks ago, but without the presence of the federal police guarding it when it opened.

In May 2020, the tribe established a quarantine camp on the Wind River Indian Reservation to house transient tribal members who tested positive for COVID-19.

At that time, tribal authorities partnered with the Fremont County Sheriff’s Office and the Riverton Police Department to test the vagrants — who were in Riverton — for COVID, then transport them to camp for two-week quarantines. weeks if necessary.

Agents from the U.S. Bureau of Indian Affairs were guarding the COVID camp when it was established to enforce the Northern Arapaho tribe’s quarantine order, violation of which could result in a jail term of up to 30 days.

No police presence

There was no police presence at the camp Thursday morning when the Cowboy State Daily inspected the scene.

“No, there’s nothing like that anymore,” said Dr. Paul Ebbert, health officer for the Northern Arapaho Tribe.

Half a dozen trailers lay parallel to each other about half a mile east of Great Plains Hall in Arapahoe, surrounded by fences topped with barbed wire – but the main gate was open.

Quarantine times have dropped to about five days, which matches Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines.

The camp has also been opened to more people, Ebbert said.

“It’s not just for transients anymore, and it hasn’t been for quite a while,” he said. “But we still use it.”

Ebbert said the camp is now for anyone with COVID-positive who needs isolation, a concern as multi-generational homes are prevalent on the reservation.

“It’s to get you out of a house where someone else is at high risk,” he said.

Ebbert did not know the exact number of camp residents currently, but thought it was “pretty low”, offering a rough estimate of four people.

In a separate interview with Cowboy State Daily, Jordan Dresser, president of the Northern Arapaho Business Council, said tribal medical staff are still monitoring the health of visiting tribesmen “quite a bit.”

Hotel financing

According to a Jan. 13 post on its official Facebook page, the NABC voted unanimously to stop sponsoring hotel quarantines for COVID-positive tribal members.

“Open the COVID camp. At least (sic),” commentator Mary Warren Killsontop wrote shortly after the statement was released.

Killsontop did not respond to a message seeking additional comment.

The COVID camp closed about five months ago and reopened about three weeks ago, according to tribal authorities. Ebbert said the camp was closed to accommodate his change of location from the Arapahoe powwow grounds to a site near Wind River Family and Community Healthcare in Arapahoe.

Clinic staff oversee the camp and its residents, Ebbert said.

Dresser said that hotel quarantine funding has been cut for several reasons, including the tribe’s high vaccination rate, its dwindling access to COVID funds, the reopening of the COVID camp, and the faster and less detectable spread of the virus. Omicron variant.

Tribal spending is not tracked publicly as Wyoming state spending is on

As of October 2021, NAT had received $67.58 million in funding from the American Rescue Plan Act.

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