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SATURDAY, MARCH 14, 2020
Menominee Indian Tribe of Wisconsin
Response to COVID-19
The Menominee Indian Tribe of Wisconsin is taking preventative measures in regards to the potential spread of the COVID-19 virus.
 
An Incident Command Center has been created to include Ben Warrington-Incident Commander, Dr. Amy Slagle-Public Health Officer, Vaughn Bowles-Public Information Officer, and Menominee Nation News will be used to write and disseminate information. Information will be released as available and necessary as it relates to the Menominee reservation and county.
 
On Thursday, March 12, 2020 the Menominee Indian Tribe declared a State of Emergency, and approved the following immediate precautionary measures (this response will change as necessary):
 
Menominee Reservation and County Residents:
-TRANSPORTATION SERVICES: All non-medical related transportation services to hot spot counties will be cancelled for the next 45 days. Prohibition will continue for rolling 45-day period until lifted.
-STAY HOME IF YOU OR YOUR CHILD IS SICK: Employees who are sick or who have sick children should stay home from work. Supervisors shall relax enforcement of attendance policies. In cases where two parents work for the Tribe, those parents should work out a schedule so that only one of them is off at a time.
  • Self-quarantine for 14 calendar days if children are coming home for spring break if they have had contact with an individual who has been a confirmed case or from an area with confirmed cases.
-TRIBALLY SPONSORED PUBLIC EVENTS HOSTED BY TRIBAL DEPARTMENTS CANCELLED: All tribally sponsored public events are cancelled for the next 45 days. Prohibition will continue for rolling 45-day period until lifted.
  • Cancellation includes resource fairs, pow-wows, Sturgeon Feast, Celebrations and other public events, all school events such as sporting events, dances proms, graduations.
-FITNESS/RECREATION CENTER: The fitness center, activity rooms, and workout areas of the Tribal Recreation Center will be closed for the next 45 days. Closure will continue for rolling 45-day period until lifted. All 24-hour door access cards will be disabled.
-ELDER MEAL SITES FOOD FOR TAKE OUT ONLY: Food service at elderly meal sites will convert to take-out only.  
  • Home delivered meals will continue uninterrupted.
  • Elders who are aware of the closure should remain in their vehicles and staff will deliver take-out meals to them.
  • Elders who are unaware of closure may pick up take-out meal at meal site door.
  • Staff shall inform elder of closure and advise that future meals will be delivered to their vehicles.
  • For more information call Menominee Aging Division at (715) 799-5240
-MENOMINEE TRIBAL JAIL, CBRF, MAEHNOWESEKIYAH RESIDENTIAL, EAGLES NEST, AND DV SHELTER CLOSED TO VISITORS: All facilities operated by the Tribe that house individuals will be closed to visitors. The only exemptions to this closure is medical personnel providing care to residents
-GOVERNMENTAL MEETINGS LIMITED TO 20 OR LESS: All meetings of government elected officials, committees, and staff should be limited to 20 people or less.
  • Non-essential meetings will be postponed, business will be conducted via poll votes.
-IDENTIFICATION OF ESSENTIAL SERVICES: Administrative Committee shall coordinate the identification of essential services in the event workforce is reduced due to illness or quarantines are required.
-MEALS FOR CHILDREN: Tribally operated schools, Head Starts and Day Care Centers shall develop plans for how take-out meals/bag lunches can be provided to school children in the event of school closures.
-SPECIAL CONSIDERATIONS:
  • Emergency Management and Tribal Clinic will begin preparing medical self-care packages that include a thermometer, aspirin, Tylenol and other items.
  • Emergency Management and Agriculture and Food Systems will begin acquiring nonperishable food reserves for elders and disabled individuals who are quarantined.
  • Emergency Management will begin planning for delivery methods of food reserves for and methods to identify quarantined individuals.
 
 
Tribal Employees:
-TRAVEL RESTRICTIONS: All off reservation travel cancelled and prohibited for the next 45 days. Prohibition will continue for rolling 45-day period until lifted. Exemptions will be made on a case by case basis.
- PROHIBITION ON REPORTING TO WORK FOR EMPLOYEES WHO RESIDE IN A COUNTY WITH A CONFIRMED CASE: Employees who reside in a county with a confirmed case shall be prohibited from reporting to work for a period of 14 days. Employees shall be provided work at home opportunity if possible.
-SELF-QUARANTINE FOR THOSE ON TRAVEL: Tribal employees currently on tribal or personal travel to out of state hot spots or out of the country for any reason must remain away from their workplace for 14 calendar days after their return.
-STAY HOME IF YOU OR YOUR CHILD IS SICK: Employees who are sick or who have sick children should stay home from work. Supervisors shall relax enforcement of attendance policies. In cases where two parents work for the Tribe, those parents should work out a schedule so that only one of them is off at a time.
  • Self-quarantine for 14 calendar days if children are coming home for spring break if they have had contact with an individual who has been a confirmed case or from an area with confirmed cases.
-ADDITIONAL HOUSEKEEPING STAFF: The Tribal Facilities staff will bring on emergency hires in housekeeping to continuously clean and disinfect the facilities they support and tribal facilities without their own housekeeping staff.
-DEPARTMENTAL MEETINGS: All departmental meetings where individuals from outside of the reservation boundaries should be conducted via conference call or Skype/video conferencing.
-IDENTIFICATION OF ESSENTIAL SERVICES: Administrative Committee shall coordinate the identification of essential services in the event workforce is reduced due to illness or quarantines are required.
-SPECIAL CONSIDERATIONS:
  • Aging personal care workers should wear protective clothing if their clients are showing signs of illness
  • Aging personal care workers should find a substitute if they are sick
  • All departments should track expenses, including special purchases, emergency hires, staff leave time related to these directives.
  • IT Department will review and increase system capabilities to ensure a larger number of employees can work from home if needed.
 
Again, this response will change as necessary.
CLOSURES/CANCELATIONS
In response to the growing concerns surrounding the COVID-19 virus, tribal leaders and the Tribe’s emergency response team met Friday afternoon to discuss further measures to be taken to mitigate the proliferation of the virus.

Ben Warrington, head of the Incident Command Team, along with community and tribal partners, announced the closure of the following community entities: 

All Menominee Indian School District schools will close their doors from March 16 with classes tentatively scheduled to resume on April 6, 2020.

E-Learning for all 4K-12 students will start on March 23-27. This is being developed and includes a procedure for students who do no have wifi connections.

Starting on March 15, Grab & Go lunches will be available at KPS, MIMS, MIHS, and Menominee Tribal School in Neopit.

The Menominee Tribal School will be closed from March 16 with a tentative return date scheduled for April 14.

The Menominee Tribal Daycare and Head Start programs will resume on April 6.

The College of Menominee Nation have announced that they will be going to all online classes beginning March 16 and anticipate that running after Spring Break which runs from March 23 through March 27, 2020.

For more details on the CMN response to the COVID-19 concerns visit their website and their Facebook page .

All Menominee community schools will undergo vigorous cleansing program while classes have been postponed.

The Menominee Recreation Center and the Menominee Boys & Girls Club have suspended their services for a 45-day period.

The Menominee Tribal Jail, Maehnowesekiyah Wellness Center, Eagle’s Nest, Domestic Violence Shelter, and the Aging & Long Term Care departments will no longer receive visitors to their facilities except for those that are medical necessities.

Director for Aging & Long Term Care, Erika Kowalkowski, said the activities at Aging & Long Term facilities have been suspended but will continue to provide meals for Menominee elders.

Elders enrolled in the program can come to the centers to pick up their meals. Home deliveries will also continue for those eligible.

Jennifer Peters, General Manager of the Wolf River Development Company, which oversees the Save A Lot grocery store in Keshena, said they have adopted the tribe’s plan to the COVID-19 virus.

Additionally, Peters said the Save A Lot staff will also ensure the facility is kept clean, that store personnel are knowledgeable in their day-to-day approach to customer service regarding the COVID-19 safeguard measures.

She added that they have implemented limits in high demand products like cleaning agents and toilet paper to ensure there is enough available for all customers.

The Menominee Casino Resort remains in business for the time being with General Manager, Troy Sadler, reporting stringent cleaning procedures, extra hand sanitizers available throughout the casino complex.

The Forest Island Restaurant have suspended their salad bar and buffet services indefinitely but the full menu remains available.

Warrington said the tribe has hired additional housekeepers to meet the increase in scheduled cleaning and disinfecting of tribal facilities. 

Emergency response personnel have stated that the COVID-19 situation is quickly evolving and they will continue to monitor the situation as it develops.

Tribal leaders will continue to keep tribal members informed of any changes in the situation.
What is COVID-19?
COVID-19 is the disease caused by a virus strain that began spreading in people in December 2019.
Health experts are concerned because little is known about this new respiratory virus, and it can cause severe illness and pneumonia in some people.
  • The COVID-19 virus was first identified in Wuhan, Hubei Province, China.
  • The COVID-19 virus is not the same as the coronaviruses that commonly circulate among humans and cause mild illness, like the common cold.
  • Formerly, this disease was referred to as "2019 Novel Coronavirus" or "2019-nCoV."
Demographics
COVID-19 can effect anyone but some people seem to be at higher risks.
•Older adults, especially what most communities would label as “the elderly”.
•People with the following chronic medical conditions:
—Heart disease
—Diabetes
—Lung disease
Higher risk populations may want to take the following precautions:
•Stock up on supplies, especially medicines they need and groceries if they may need to be at home for a longer period of time. What medicine people need and what groceries they prefer will vary on a case-by-case basis.
•Avoid cruise travel and non-essential air travel.
•Avoid crowds and stay home as much as possible.
•Follow the basic preventative measures such as hand-washing.
•Keep in constant contact with their healthcare provider to see if they are developing COVID-19 symptoms.
Symptoms:
The disclaimer has to be added that just because someone has these symptoms if doesn’t necessarily mean they have COVID-19.
Similarly, many symptoms may be dormant and may not appear from anywhere until 2 to 14 days after exposure.
Common COVID-19 symptoms reported include the following:
•Fever
•Cough
•Shortness of breath
Most of these are mild symptoms and mean one will probably just be in for an extended period of physical (and corresponding emotional) discomfort, but people should get medical attention IMMEDIATELY if they start having these enhanced COVID-19 signs.
•Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath being prolonged
•Persistent pain or pressure in the chest
•New confusion or inability to arouse
•Bluish lips or face.
This is not an inclusive list and people should consult their healthcare provider if they are experiencing any other concerning symptoms or call 911 if they are experiencing a medical emergency. Even if it is not COVID-19 people may find out they have other medical issues to be aware of.
What is the difference between isolation and quarantine?
Isolation and quarantine are public health practices used to stop or limit the spread of disease.

Isolation is used to separate ill persons who have a communicable disease from those who are healthy. Isolation restricts the movement of ill persons to help stop the spread of certain diseases. For example, hospitals use isolation for patients with infectious tuberculosis.

Quarantine is used to separate and restrict the movement of well persons who may have been exposed to a communicable disease to see if they become ill. These people may have been exposed to a disease and do not know it, or they may have the disease but do not show symptoms. Quarantine can also help limit the spread of communicable disease.
Isolation and quarantine are used to protect the public by preventing exposure to infected persons or to persons who may be infected.

Our Menominee way is to help others
During this time of uncertainty, it is important to remember to check in on others, especially our Elders, and offer to help where you can.

  • Maybe you have a relative who needs meds, but can't make it to the clinic-offer to pick up medication for them
  • If your going to the grocery store, offer to pick up something that someone needs
  • Schools are closed and working parents will need assistance with child care-offer to keep the children while they work
  • Offer to help with house cleaning
  • Offer to take care of pets as needed
  • Call relatives and see how they are doing
  • Donate Blood
  • Also remember to take care of yourself

Think of ways we all can help each other get through this. We're all in this together.
MITW will release more information on the following platforms:
Tribal Emergency Hotline: (715) 799-7000 press #5 for COVID-19 information

Please share the information with others who may not have access to these options.
Menominee Nation News office hours: Monday - Friday, 8:00 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.
Devan Erdmann
Director/Editor

Joshua Sederstrom
Administrative/Design Assistant
Patrick Delabrue
Reporter

Christopher Anderson
Reporter
Menominee Indian Tribe of Wisconsin | Menominee Nation News
Ph: (715) 799-5167 | Fax: (715) 799-5250
© 2020