SPIRIT LAKE TRIBE, Fort Totten, N.D.

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During three mobile test drives, the Spirit Lake Tribe has conducted 326 coronavirus tests on the tribe’s residents, including the April 21 surveillance testing at the tribal health center with the North Dakota Department of Health and North Dakota Army National Guard. On site for that testing was North Dakota State Health Officer Mylynn Tufte. At last report, there had been had no positive cases.

Tribal Chairwoman Peggy Cavanaugh had high praise for the tribe’s central employees and its tribal entities working to protect the people. She recognized leaders and employees of the tribe’s Sioux Manufacturing Corporation for keeping all of the tribe’s Federal Defense contracts active and current during the pandemic. And she commended the work done by tribal and district employees to file applications for federal stimulus, gaining more than $450,000 for Spirit Lake families and programs.

In mid-April, the chairwoman had issued an executive order requiring prior notifications by members leaving the reservation for COVID hot spots and for any outside visitors coming onto the reservation. Of concern is the return to Spirit Lake of tribal members living in North Dakota cities where COVID-19 case numbers are high, such as Fargo.

Cavanaugh also reported that the tribe has received a number of requests for another round of testing for Spirit Lake people. The tribe is looking to re-open Spirit Lake Casino and Resort on June 1.

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