For Immediate Release—March 10, 2021
Blackfeet to move into COVID-19 Phase 3 starting March 15
Browning, MT – The Blackfeet Tribal Business Council, after consultation with local health officials and Incident Command team, has approved the Blackfeet Reservation to move into COVID-19 Phase 3 titled “New Normal” beginning, Monday, March 15, 2021 at 12:01 a.m. Coincidentally, it is exactly one year to the date at which the Blackfeet Tribe declared an Emergency due to the COVID-19 Pandemic (March 15, 2020).
The decision was based on the active COVID-19 cases and vaccines to date on the Blackfeet Reservation. We are currently at 1 active case and no hospitalizations. The vaccines, both Moderna and Johnson & Johnson, which are being administered by Indian Health Service and Southern Piegan Clinic, have vaccinated approximately 5,697 residents of the Blackfeet Reservation. The population is roughly 10,000 residents with 3,000 being under the age of 17 so at this time approximately 80% of the eligible population have received the vaccine.
The ability to move to Phase 3 is due to the diligence and care shown by the residents of the Blackfeet Nation and healthcare organizations throughout this pandemic. Details of Phase 3 will be forthcoming as well as updated business regulations.
While many are vaccinated, it is important to remember that COVID-19 Testing is still highly encouraged as the vaccines only lessen the symptoms and do not prevent COVID. Please keep in mind that while the numbers have permitted this move to Phase 3, please take precautions and remain vigilant to all the requirements of social distancing, keep within your cohorts/households, wear your mask, sanitize and wash your hands.
Approving the move to Phase 3 of the Blackfeet COVID Phase Plan comes with risk. An important piece of the Phase Plan is that the community can move backward in the Phase Plan, if needed. If the public health or healthcare system is strained, or cases rise dramatically, action will be taken to move back into Phase 1.
The Blackfeet Tribe has taken a strict, safety-oriented approach to ensuring the health and welfare of the Blackfeet Nation. Incident Command will continue to monitor community outbreaks and capacity in the medical and public health sectors as decisions are made regarding the recovery of the community.
FOR THE MEDIA, CONTACT:
James McNeely, Public Information Officer