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The Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa tested 591 tribal members in about six hours on April 30, a benchmark for one-day tribal testing. According to Turtle Mountain Chairman Jamie Azure, all of the samples collected during the drive-through testing at Turtle Mountain Community Schools came back negative. One test was rejected because the person had also tested at another site.

“We had prepared ourselves for the possibility of positive tests,” said Azure. “Fortunately, the results showed that a large majority of our people are taking the right precautions.”

People in Belcourt, ND, had earlier expressed concern that there wasn’t enough testing happening.

“Now we know that many people of the Tribe are doing a great job in following Covid-19 precautionary measures,” said Azure. “And we hope that more will be inspired to take those steps.”

Azure said that it’s time to “fortify” and not “relax” precautions, even if that is the course taken elsewhere in the nation.

“We will utilize the data from the state to make better decisions,” he said.

Azure observed that another positive outcome of the testing was that the I-H-S was able to contribute test kits. The Tribe will continue to seek-out and acquire additional kits with the goal of having one for every member of the tribe.

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