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Grand Portage reports new COVID-19 case, but overall number still low

The Grand Portage Band of Lake Superior Chippewa has been diligent in its efforts to keep COVID-19 from spreading in the community. Through the pandemic, Grand Portage has only three positive cases impacting people who reside or work within the reservation. However, another case in Grand Portage was reported this week.

On May 4, the Grand Portage Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Tribal Council announced that they had received notice from Public Health of a case of COVID-19 within the reservation. This fourth case is a male in his teens who is a resident of the Grand Portage Reservation.

On August 15, 2020, a male in his mid-30s, a resident of Grand Portage, was found to be positive for COVID-19. A second case was announced on January 8, 2021. This was a person who worked for the Grand Portage Reservation Tribal Council, who lived off the reservation. On April 8, a third positive COVID-19 case was announced. The person was a female in her 20s who was an employee of Grand Portage enterprises.

In all of these cases, the individuals isolated as directed by the Minnesota Department of Health and CDC. Contact tracing was conducted by Grand Portage Health Services and Cook County Public Health.
As the other cases had done, the Tribal Council said the patient is quarantining and has complied with mandatory contact tracing, and has been interviewed by health officials.

Individuals having contact with the patient have been notified and have been advised to stay home until test results are received.
In a Facebook statement, the Tribal Council wrote, “Community members should be assured that confidentiality is of the utmost concern for patients in the health care system.

“Individuals who may become infected should be given the space to recover without fear of being brought into the public eye. Grand Portage is a close community where we show compassion when faced with difficult times. We are strong and we will get through these tough times together.”

The Tribal Council reiterated that anyone experiencing symptoms of coronavirus (fever/chills, cough, sore throat, shortness of breath/difficulty breathing, fatigue, muscle/body aches, headache, congestion, nausea/vomiting, diarrhea or new loss of taste or smell) should call the Triage nurse at Sawtooth Mountain Clinic at 218-387-2330.
The Tribal Council and Grand Portage Health Services encourage community members to receive the COVID-19 vaccine.

Vaccination clinics in Grand Portage have been very well attended. The next opportunity for vaccinations in Grand Portage will be May 24 from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. The clinic will be offering the Johnson & Johnson one-dose vaccine. For more information or to schedule an appointment, contact Grand Portage Health Services at 218-475-2235.

In related news, in April, the Grand Portage Tribal Council and Pow Wow committee made the decision to cancel the 2021 Grand Portage Elders Powwow in May and the Grand Portage Rendezvous Days Powwow in August due to the uncertainty surrounding the ongoing pandemic.

In their announcement, the Powwow Committee said, “This decision was not made lightly but we are continuing to keep the safety and well-being of the community and our guests in mind.

“We hope to return to celebrating in the circle with all of our relatives next year; please continue to keep you and your families safe.”