A total of 482 residents and essential workers were tested May 9 in Fort Yates, ND. This included citizens from both North and South Dakota. “We don't have boundaries here at Standing Rock, it's all one,” said Tribal Chairman Mike Faith.
Cars rolled smoothly through the Standing Rock Grant School bus garage on a blustery Saturday, showing the teamwork and preparation between state agencies and the tribe.
"We have a lot of people with pre-existing conditions that we want to protect,” said Standing Rock Tribal Health Director Margaret Gates, who also coordinates the tribe’s Incident Command Team.
More recently, the tribe launched a testing program in partnership with the Standing Rock Indian Health Service Clinic and Hospital. Following the model established in the State of North Dakota partnership, drive-through testing was conducted in three of the tribe’s eight districts.
“We’re at that point where now we can do it for ourselves,” said Faith. “We’re doing it through our Incident Command Task force, Homeland Security Task Force and I-H-S. All the tests are sent to the State of North Dakota and some to South Dakota. And they’re coming back in a timely manner. If they’re positive, they are contacted right away and the important contact tracing is done right away.”
Chairman Faith reported that more than 1,000 individuals have been tested. The tribe plans to gradually re-open Prairie Knights Casino and Grand River Casino beginning on May 29.
“We still have communities left to test on Standing Rock,” said Faith. “And by testing our casino employees, we would feel much more comfortable going forward.”