Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe runs out of COVID-19 hospital beds

COVID-19 continues to hospitalize people on the reservation.
COVID-19 continues to hospitalize people on the reservation.(KOTA)
Published: Aug. 27, 2021 at 6:51 PM CDT
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RAPID CITY, S.D. (KOTA) - Officials with the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe are saying that the reservation has more than 60 active COVID-19 cases, and they’re continuing to see more appear everyday. They say it’s important for every person on the reservation to realize the pandemic is still ongoing, regardless of the actions of others in the country. They say that with COVID-19 changing and becoming even more dangerous as it continues to infect people, that no one is safe.

Last year, the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe was doing COVID-19 checkpoints. Now, Harold Frazier, Chairman with the Tribe, says beds have run thin for people at the Cheyenne River Health Center, which already lacks all of the services required to treat COVID-19.

Available beds in South Dakota are scarce. To get help, they’ve had to send people over 400 miles to Cheyenne, Wyoming and as far as 500 miles to Denver, Colorado for ICU COVID-19 medical care.

He says keeping people healthy on the reservation has been a challenge.

”When you’ve got the Governor of South Dakota opening things wide open, it’s really hard for our residents at the reservation to be sitting here when they’re looking right across the line and are seeing what people are doing, and going on and caring about like this virus is not here. So, it’s a challenge,” says Frazier.

Officials are asking people to take the necessary measures to protect themselves, their families, neighbors and community members by washing their hands, wearing masks, practicing social distancing and limiting contact with others. They say a person that’s not showing symptoms may still spread the virus to others, and ask people to refrain from unnecessary travel. They’re reminding the public that failure to comply may result in becoming ill, and being hospitalized somewhere far away from your loved ones.

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