Blackfeet Reservation: 14-day shut-down ordered due to COVID

Posted at 3:24 PM, Sep 24, 2020
and last updated 2020-09-24 17:45:14-04

The Blackfeet Tribal Business Council, in an emergency meeting on Thursday, authorized a 14-day mandatory shut down of the entire reservation beginning at 11:59 pm on Sunday, September 27.

The shut-down was based upon the recommendation by tribal public health officials, noting that for every two tests, one is positive.

As of Thursday, there are 83 active cases, and a "few hundred" people on quarantine, according to Tribal officials. Blackfeet Community Hospital will also be going back to a Phase 1 closure.

Tribal officials say that law enforcement will be out to cite and fine individuals who are not complying with the shut-down. The news release states: "Everyone needs to take this seriously."

They urge everyone to follow CDC guidelines and Blackfeet Tribe Ordinance 121. For more information, call 406-338-3513.

The reservation has been closed to all non-essential travel for several months now, and there was speculation earlier this week that a stay at home order was coming. The speculation was largely sparked by a Facebook post from Blackfeet COVID-19 Incident Command on Monday stating that there were 68 active cases of COVID-19 on the reservation.

Towns and communities within the reservation include Browning, Babb, St. Mary, Heart Butte, and East Glacier Park Village.

There were 333 new cases and no new deaths added to the total on the Montana Response COVID-19 tracking site on Thursday morning. The data below is from the official Montana website on September 24:

  • TOTAL CASES & RECOVERIES: Montana now reports 11,242 cumulative cases statewide, with 8,634 people recovered.
  • HOSPITALIZATIONS: There are 128 patients currently hospitalized, and a total of 650 hospitalizations since the pandemic began.
  • ACTIVE CASES: The state reports there are currently 2,443 active cases in Montana.
  • DEATHS: The cumulative number of deaths attributed to COVID-19 in Montana is 165.
  • TESTING: The number of new tests is 4,358; the cumulative total of tests since March is now 321,518.

Numbers reported by the state each day occasionally differ from those reported by county public health departments due to periodic lag times in reporting data to the state. We encourage people to check the official website and/or Facebook page of their respective county health department for any updates that are not yet included in the state's daily updates.