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Two employees of the Southern Ute Indian Tribal government have tested positive for COVID-19, and are in self-quarantine.
A news release issued Sunday by the tribe said all appropriate steps are being taken to identify anyone who may have been exposed to the two employees for notification to self-quarantine and to self-monitor for symptoms of COVID-19, which include fever, dry cough and body aches.
Lindsay Box, spokeswoman for the Southern Ute Indian Tribe, said tribal officials were notified of the positive tests on Saturday.
San Juan Basin Public Health and the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment are providing assistance during the investigation, examining whom the employees have been in contact with.
Anyone who is contacted by SJBPH and CDPHE is encouraged to cooperate to assist in protecting the health and welfare of the Southern Ute tribal membership and government, the tribe said in a news release Sunday.
According to the release, “It is important to know that, by definition of the Centers for Disease Control, you have not been ‘exposed’ unless you have had close contact with a person who has tested positive.”
The definition of close contact is to be about 6 feet from an infected person or within the room or care area of an infected patient for a prolonged period while not wearing recommended personal protective equipment. Close contact also includes instances where there is direct contact with infectious secretions while not wearing recommended personal protective equipment. Close contact generally does not include brief interactions, such as walking past a person.
Previous advisories, such as Gov. Jared Polis’ stay-at-home order and recommendations form the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention – including maintaining a 6-foot social distancing space among individuals to protect yourself and to avoid exposing others to any illness you might have – are especially important to follow, the news release stated.
In an email, Box said tribal members who have symptoms of COVID-19 are asked to call their primary health care provider or the SUHC at 563-4581. The SUHC is not a drive-thru facility, any patient should call to schedule an appointment before arriving at the testing tents erected behind the SUHC.
SUHC received a limited number of COVID-19 tests to assess the patients at the clinic, Box said.
In addition to all precautions already in effect by the Southern Ute Tribe, the following new procedure has been added immediately: Any staff member reporting to work at any tribal facility in Ignacio must report to the tents behind the Health Center before proceeding to their work location. Employees will be screened and cleared to work that day by Health Center staff if they have no fever or other symptoms of COVID-19.
The only exception to this rule are law enforcement personnel who will be screened upon arrival at the Justice Center.
The news release asks tribal members to remain calm and vigilant to protect themselves and others. It also asks tribal members to stay home if they are ill.