GREAT FALLS — Montana's Fort Peck Tribes have reported two cases of COVID-19, believed to be the first among the state's seven Indian reservations.
The confirmation was posted Wednesday on the Fort Peck Assiniboine & Sioux COVID-19 information Facebook page, the Great Falls Tribune reported.
State Medical Officer Dr. Greg Holzman said Tuesday afternoon that "there were no known cases associated directly with the tribal reservations," and that 3.5% of those who had tested positive in Montana were Native American.
The tribes are encouraging their members not to panic, to stay indoors and wear gloves and masks if they need to go outdoors.
The tribes had already suspended tribal government travel, implemented a 14-day quarantine for anyone who came to the reservation from a place with an outbreak and instituted at 10 p.m. curfew.
"The reason we're doing that is because we have a high rate of diabetes here, a high rate of cancer and a high rate of heart disease. We're thinking about our elders," Tribal Chairman Floyd Azure said in an earlier statement.
The Fort Peck Reservation in northeastern Montana covers about 3,200 square miles (8,300 square kilometers) and is home to 6,800 Assiniboine and Sioux tribal members, according to the governor's website.
Montana had a total of 332 positive COVID-19 tests Wednesday morning. Thirty-one people have been hospitalized, and six have died.
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