Important Links for Tribal Members to Access Information Regarding Covid-19
LCO Housing Authority Closes After Employee Tests Positive for Covid-19
The Housing Authority is temporarily closed effective immediately. On Monday, July 27, 2020, the Housing Authority was notified that a Housing employee had tested positive for COVID-19. This person has been quarantined according to CDC guidelines. All housing staff members who were in contact are self-quarantined and in the process of being tested, as a precaution. All results have been reported as negative. Consistent with Housing safety protocols, the Housing offices will remain closed to the general public while a professional deep cleaning is conducted. The Housing Maintenance department was not affected and will be available for emergency on-call work orders @715-558-1594.
Chairman Taylor August 4, 2020 Statement on Current Covid-19 Cases at Lac Courte Oreilles
On behalf of the Tribal Governing Board, I sincerely hope everyone is healthy and stays healthy during these very trying times. With the rise in COVID-19, or coronavirus cases in Sawyer County, it is inevitable that cases would reach our Lac Courte Oreilles Reservation. We currently know of five (5) cases within our Tribal Membership, of which our health officials are continuing to monitor. Many of you already understand the HIPAA law, which is a federal law that protects health information and ensures privacy for all patients. As of this writing the numbers are:
44 Positive Cases in Sawyer County
119 Suspect Cases
As a Tribal Government, it is important that we continue to provide services to our tribal communities. Please keep checking the Lac Courte Oreilles website and the Lac Courte Oreilles Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Indians Facebook page for updates on COVID-19 and changes in tribal services and functions. The Tribal Governing Board is working on directives that will include social distancing in every location throughout the Reservation, mandatory mask wearing in all offices and businesses, increased testing for employees and community members, virtual meetings, shifting work to limit close contact, enhancing sanitation measures, and limiting social gatherings .
Other precautionary measures we're working on include:
acquiring disposable masks for membership distribution;
acquiring shelters for individuals/families for quarantining;
additional cleaning and disinfecting;
pre-screening at tribal government offices;
mandatory masks at offices and businesses;
service programs limiting face to face contact and doing phone or electronic communications;
plexiglass installed at all offices and businesses;
sanitizer and soap provided throughout offices and businesses;
no loitering allowed in any offices.
Regarding the recent confirmed cases, individuals who came in close contact with those who tested positive, following CDC guidelines, all close contacts have self-quarantined and continue to monitor for symptoms. Close contact is defined as anyone who has been in an enclosed space with a person who texted positive for 15 minutes or more, with or without a mask on.
If you are experiencing symptoms related to COVID-19, a fever, sudden loss of taste or smell, dry cough, fatigue, sore throat, muscle aches, nausea, muscle aches, vomiting or diarrhea, please call the COVID-19 hotline at 715-934-4518 to schedule a test.
Each of us plays a role in helping to prevent the spread of the virus. Please maintain social distancing, wash yours hands frequently, wear a mask when in public, take every safety precaution available to you. A good tip is to act as if you have the virus to prevent unknowingly spreading the virus to others-keep your distance, wear a mask, no hugging or shaking hands, wash hands often. It's possible that you're carrying the virus and not show any symptoms of being sick; however, it is highly likely you will give it to someone else. We must accept that this is the "new" normal.
The Tribal Governing Board is deeply grateful to all employees and volunteers that are working day and night to ensure the safety and wellbeing of our Lac Courte Oreilles People. Together, we will get through this.
Health Director Releases Clinic Statement on Current Covid-19 Response, July 31, 2020
Submitted by Gary Girard
LCO Health Center Director, ED. D., M.S., B.A.
The LCO Clinic has recently upgraded our response to Covid-19 from our previous Essential/Urgent Care to a Soft Opening. All employees have been called back to work and we are providing services in all departments. We are seeing urgent/emergent care patients plus 25% of our previous patient load. We will be operating at about 55% of our capacity. It is important to protect our employees and community by seeing patients on urgency of care needed. Providers will determine if care can be provided by curbside, telephone, telehealth, skype, zoom or if patients need face to face provider support. Referrals will continue to be made for specialty services that are not provided at the Lac Courte Oreilles Health Center for patients that meet PRC eligibility.
We are still providing curbside Covid-19 testing for patients presenting symptoms such as: Cough, Shortness of breath, Difficulty breathing, Fever, Chills, Sore Throat, Muscle Aches, Loss of taste or smell, Fatigue, Nausea, or Diarrhea. Severe cases tend to worsen about five to 10 days after symptoms start.
If you have any of these symptoms please call the Sawyer County Hot Line at
Hotline Number: 715-934-4518
Monday-Friday: 9:00 am-4:00 pm Saturday-Sunday: 9:00 am-3:00 pm
We are partnering with Sawyer County Health, LCO Emergency Management, Hayward Hospital, and our LCO Incident Command Team led by Lieutenant Commander Summer Pearson, our Lab Corp resource, and Commander David Axt, our Pharm D expert.
We have hired a Covid-19 Response team of (5) employees which will free up our current staff to attend their regular duties providing care for our patients, which you have grown accustomed too. This team will be providing curbside Covid-19 testing at the health center as well as in our community in the upcoming weeks. The data will help us make best practice decisions to continue to protect our community by reducing the spread of Covid-19.
We are also providing curbside pickup in our pharmacy. This service will continue from now on as it has been supported by our patients and community.
Our front door employees are screening patients as they come through the door, checking temperatures and asking Covid-19 related questions. Patients are given a mask to protect themselves and others at the front door.
We are also providing Diabetes checks in the curbside delivery system.
We have seen a slight surge in cases in Sawyer County. We are currently up to 37 cases County Wide of Covid-19 with 0 deaths. 24 cases have fully recovered with 13 cases active. There are currently (3) active cases in our community. When someone has symptoms they should call the Hotline number listed above. They are screened for symptoms and if they are an LCO patient they are scheduled for testing at LCO Health Center Curbside. We have a number of tests we are using. The ABBOTT Rapid test is given to patients presenting symptoms. The results are back in 20 minutes. We can test up to 24 patients per day at the present time. We have requested more tests and a second testing machine and are waiting on those machines to be available. We also have Lab Core Testing available. We have trained our nursing staff in Covid-19 testing to support this effort. The results on these tests are back in 2 to 5 days.
We are meeting weekly with Indian Health Service in our Bemidji Area Director's meetings. Other tribes are experiencing a slight uptake in positive cases and we collaborate on best practices including, hand washing regularly, wearing face masks when 6 feet or closer to others, avoiding large gatherings of 10 or more, and staying home if sick.
Sawyer County Health is doing our contract tracing at this time. If one of our patients tests positive at the health center we will call Sawyer County for their assistance in contact tracing. If one of our patients tests positive at Hayward Hospital, they will contact Sawyer County Health and then contact us and we will support their contact tracing efforts. This has proven effective to date.
We have had a few positive Covid-19 tests in the past week. Patients testing positive are quarantined for 14 days. Close contacts are notified and quarantined for 14 days if they had personal contact within 6 feet without face masks for 15 minutes or more. So far, contract tracing has resulted in no further spread of the disease.
Due to the recent spread of the disease, Governor Evers has made the following mandate state wide: Under this order, Wisconsin residents ages 5 and older are required to wear a face covering when they are indoors or in an enclosed space with anyone outside their household or living unit. Face coverings are strongly recommended if you are outdoors and maintaining physical distancing is not possible. The order also enumerates exceptions to the requirement, listing activities such as when an individual is eating, drinking, or swimming. Individuals with health conditions or disabilities that would preclude the wearing of a face covering safely are also exempt from the requirement.
Please follow all CDC guidelines to protect yourself, your family, and community. Limit social gatherings to no more than 10 people. Use outdoor venues and face masks, if you are exceeding this limit as the virus is less communicable outside. Use regular hand washing, wear face masks, clean with disinfectant which protect against Covid-19, or bleach solution 10%, and practice social distancing.
If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to call the health center for information. Stay safe and God bless us in this pandemic.
Latest Safety Measures for LCO Tribal Court
Governor Orders Statewide Mask Mandate
MADISON — Gov. Tony Evers today declared a Public Health Emergency and issued an Emergency Order requiring individuals to wear face coverings when indoors and not in a private residence, with some exceptions as clarified and defined in the order. The order is effective at 12:01 a.m. on Saturday, August 1, 2020, and will expire on September 28, 2020 or by a subsequent superseding order. Executive Order #82 declaring a public health emergency is available here and Emergency Order #1 requiring face coverings statewide is available here.
“While our local health departments have been doing a heck of a job responding to this pandemic in our communities, the fact of the matter is, this virus doesn't care about any town, city, or county boundary, and we need a statewide approach to get Wisconsin back on track,” said Gov. Evers. “We’ve said all along that we’re going to let science and public health experts be our guide in responding to this pandemic, and we know that masks and face coverings will save lives. While I know emotions are high when it comes to wearing face coverings in public, my job as governor is to put people first and to do what's best for the people of our state, so that's what I am going to do.”
Wisconsin is seeing new and significant community spread and increase in cases of COVID-19 which requires that we declare a new public health emergency and require face coverings. Wisconsin has experienced a drastic rise in COVID-19 cases throughout the entire state, with 61 of 72 counties (84 percent) representing 96 percent of the state’s population experiencing high COVID-19 activity. All regions of Wisconsin have high COVID-19 activity levels. This is a dramatic increase from where Wisconsin was in June, when only 19 of 72 counties (26%) were experiencing high COVID-19 activity.
The average number of new confirmed cases of COVID-19 has drastically increased throughout July, with an average of 556 new cases each day between July 1-7, an average of 764 new cases each day between July 8-14 (a 37% increase from the previous week), an average of 890 new cases each day between July 15-21 (a 16% increase from the previous week), and an average of 938 new cases each day between July 22-26 (a 5% increase from the previous week).
Under this order, Wisconsin residents ages five and older are required to wear a face covering when they are indoors or in an enclosed space with anyone outside their household or living unit. Face coverings are strongly recommended if you are outdoors and maintaining physical distancing is not possible. The order also enumerates exceptions to the requirement, listing activities such as when an individual is eating, drinking, or swimming. Individuals with health conditions or disabilities that would preclude the wearing of a face covering safely are also exempt from the requirement. A frequently asked questions (FAQ) document is available here.
“The data is what drives our decisions, and that data tells us we have significant community spread in Wisconsin and need to take statewide action,” said DHS Secretary-designee Andrea Palm. “Community spread means that any interaction out in the community can mean exposure, and because people can spread COVID-19 without symptoms or even knowing they are sick, we need to take universal precautions in order for wearing face coverings to be effective.”
As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, the medical and scientific community continues to learn more about the virus, including how to best prevent its transmission. Recent scientific studies show that wearing face coverings is very effective in preventing the spread of COVID-19.
“Staying home, limiting interactions, practicing physical distancing, and washing your hands thoroughly are still the most effective ways to stop the spread,” said Dr. Ryan Westergaard, Wisconsin’s Chief Medical Officer and the State Epidemiologist for Communicable Diseases. “But we learn something new about this virus every day. A growing number of scientific studies tell us that face coverings, when used correctly and consistently by a large percentage of the community, are extremely effective for preventing the spread of COVID-19 through respiratory droplets.”
For up-to-date information about Wisconsin’s COVID-19 response, visit the DHS COVID-19 webpage. We also encourage you to follow @DHSWI on Facebookand Twitter, or dhs.wi on Instagram for more information on COVID-19.
LCO Tribe Declares State of Emergency and Activates Emergency Operation Plan
The recent events concerning the COVID-19, also known as the “coronavirus” bring attention to the responsibility of the Lac Courte Oreilles Band of Chippewa Indians tribal government to preserve and protect the health, welfare, and safety of the LCO members. The Tribal Governing Board and Health Center officials, as well as other tribal service areas have been meeting regularly to develop the response plan to address the COVID-19.
Today, March 16, 2020, Chairman Louis Taylor signed Resolution #17-2020 declaring the Lac Courte Oreilles Band of Chippewa Indians is in a Medical State of Emergency.
The Tribal Governing Board convened a meeting Monday 16, 2020, of tribal departments and Casino Administration that met during the past week to draft and initiate the Emergency Operations Plan. This Emergency Operations Plan is a response to an emergency or urgent incident or threat. The Executive action authorizes and supports the Chairman to implement the Executive Order to carry out precautions and emergency measures utilizing all resources available to ensure the health and well-being of LCO Tribal members. The Declaration of the State of Emergency by the LCO Tribe will ensure that preventative measures are taken as necessary to prepare and protect Tribal Members should an outbreak occur.
As we work towards the care and safety of our community, the LCO Health Center, Public Safety agencies, Emergency Management, and Tribal Governing Board will keep our members updated with timely information. The contingency plan called the “Continuation of Operations Plan,” or COOP is a Living Document that provides direction as we prepare for the care and safety of our communities and enterprise.
Nationally, both President Trump and Wisconsin Governor Evers made declarations of emergency status for federal and state governments, and we are anticipating the release of emergency resources which local and tribal governments may access for the health and preparedness of our community as a result of COVID-19.
The Tribe’s declaration of a State of Emergency allows the LCO Tribe to access critical resources to aid with tribal preparedness expenses incurred resulting from the COVID-19. By issuing the State of Emergency for the LCO Tribe, we are committed to the preservation and protection of our tribal membership as well as the places where we attend school and work within our community.
According to the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), elders, immune-compromised, and people with acute health conditions such as cardiovascular disease and lung disease, and other chronic disease are at risk of contracting the virus and may have a harder time fighting off the illness. Some individuals may then be more vulnerable, so it is a protective measure that the LCO Governing Board enacts the protections of the State of Emergency for the health and safety of our membership and the community in which we live.
We continue to coordinate and communicate our strength as a united community in this challenging time. There will be upcoming announcements with the Health Center and TGB to keep you informed. This letter is not to cause alarm, but to inform our membership how we can help to mitigate the effects of COVID-19. We will get through this crisis and these immediate actions are vital to prevent the further spread of the COVID-19 to our community. By listening to the needs of the community through the ongoing and past discussions with our directors, we understand the necessity of the measures that are hereby enacted through the State of Emergency for the LCO Tribe.
Activation of the LCO State of Emergency Plan
1. The LCO Health Clinic, Public Safety, and the Emergency Team are enacted to provide assistance, resource information, and critical care as needs arise for patients exhibiting COVID-19 symptoms.
2. Effective immediately, the employees who exhibit illness symptoms such as flu-like illness should:
· Stay home and phone in to the triage nurse at the clinic.
· Call your director letting them know you are ill.
· Initiate self-quarantine measures within your home, i.e., limit exposure called “safe and social distancing” of the CDC’s recommended six feet from others within your household.
· Follow strict recommendations from your provider for your healthy recovery.
3. The TGB and Program Directors have cancelled the community events and non-essential travel till further notice. These include:
· All divisions and department of the government. Please contact your director for all further communication and updates.
· LCO Tribal school is closed as of March 17, 2020, until further notice. The LCO College will have students learn from home remotely. Essential staff will work on site while all other staff will work from home, per Dr. Swagger, President. Academic plans are being readied to meet the needs of the students and college-age student body due to the closure of the local and tribal schools.
· Remember the elderly, those who are sick or living alone and if they need support services i.e., food, groceries, and supplies, please contact: (715) 892-7572.
4. If you can work from home, please contact your directors if you are able to do your duties at home.
5. To protect our Tribal Members, a travel ban is in effect for all Tribal employees. We are encouraging the use of conference calling as an alternative to in-person meeting for those department personnel who may still be working. If you have returned from an area where there has been an outbreak, you will not be allowed at work for 14 days. Any employee returning from annual leave should check with their Director regarding the required disclosure of any travel to outbreak areas. This directive aligns with the federal travel protections due to the spread of the COVID-19.
6. The Emergency Response Team will distribute the safety information as we receive updates.
7. Food Services for the elderly and children are a priority. Tribal services and Health Care will continue with additional resources i.e., food baskets and delivery. We will provide these updates to you.
How we take can take care of ourselves in our homes:
We advise the following recommendations that all Tribal Members take as we address the COVID-19. Health officials are continually updating the information as the data and research through the CDC. What we do know is COVID-19 is spread mainly through person-to-person contact. The best safety precautions still involve everyday practices to avoid illness is:
· Wash your hands with soap and hot water for at least 20 seconds, especially after being in a public place, sneezing, coughing, and touching your face.
· If hand soap is not available, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% isopropyl alcohol.
· Avoid touching your mouth, nose, and eyes.
· Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
· Cover your cough and sneeze.
· Frequently clean and disinfect touched surfaces daily. Use clean cloths. Open windows periodically to refresh the indoor air.
· Plan ahead for supplies and a 2-week food supply so you don’t have to go outside to grocery stores.
· If someone is ill within your household, designate a clean space for them, already prepared with supplies and prepackaged or covered food items they will need to minimalize the exposure to other individuals outside the home.
How we take care of our businesses:
8. To disseminate information, we will utilize the Tribe’s Facebook page and have established a COVID-19 Informational Page on the Tribe’s website at lcotribe.com/covid-19-tribal-information and the Health Center webpage lcohc.com.
9. Essential workers within our enterprises will adhere to COVID-19 protocols for their safety when cleaning or the workplace environment.
10. The Seven Winds Casino and Lodge are increasing cleaning and disinfecting measures, reducing occupancy space, and addressing health concerns to the Emergency Response Team as needs arise with the changing environment of the COVID-19.
The LCO Tribe is closely monitoring these events as we look ahead of the challenge that the COVID-19 has brought to our reservation. This situation has understandably created unexpected tasks, but we will meet each one to protect and provide safety for the health and wellbeing of our community. We are here to help our families during this challenging time
LCO Chairman Addresses Covid-19 and Latest Safety Measures
Chairman Advises No Travel to LCO in Latest Update
LCO Chairman Addresses Safer-at-Home Order, Employees, Public Health and Emergency Management
LCO Pandemic Mitigation Plans as of March 30, 2020
LCO Health's Incident Commander Shares Info on Covid-19, Clinic Measures, and Screening Procedures
By Louis Taylor
March 26, 2020
On behalf of the Tribal Governing Board, I want to assure our Members that the Tribal Government is addressing the Coronavirus (COVID-19) and the current status of national events as it affects our communities. Here is an update of the following measures that have been taken to keep our Tribal Members, Employees, all Community Members as safe and healthy as possible. As of 3/25/20, we are at zero positive COVID-19 at LCO. However, to maintain safety, we closed non-essential Tribal enterprises, although there are a few essential departments that remain open with limited hours.
· LCO K-12 School and Waadookodaading have closed but are delivering meals to students.
· LCO Headstart and Early Headstart are closed. Staff are delivering food baskets and necessities to HS/EHS families, one basket per week for two weeks at this time.
· LCO Community Health Center is asking people to call instead of walk-in. The triage is set up for immediate screening for COVID-19 if you are experiencing illness: fever, cough, shortness of breath, and diarrhea.
· Food Baskets are being delivered to Tribal Members in need, Elders 60 and over (if no other means of food), ill and quarantined, high risk with medical issues, and homeless. Baskets will be assembled and delivered to homes Thursday. Please call Karen Gordon at 715-558-7911 for donations and volunteers. All Elder Centers are closed.
· LCO Housing is closed. Please call 715-634-2147 if you have a housing maintenance emergency.
· LCO Men’s Shelter and Women’s shelter are open for emergency housing.
· Sevenwinds Casino/Lodge/Convention Center and Grindstone Creek Casino - closed.
· Tribal Court has limited court appearances. Please call ahead if you require services.
· Until further notice, the LCO Tribal Administration Offices are closed to the public. Only essential employees will be working. Any business will be conducted by phone or email. If you need any assistance, please call or email the necessary department.
· LCO Voc Rehab is open by phone and email for their consumers. There will be at least one person in the office Mon-Fri to take phone calls.
· LCO Conservation is closed. If Wardens are required, call 715-634-5213.
· Grants writing for Health and Human Services funding are enacted due to COVID-19.
· C-Store and QuickStop hours are 8 am to 8 pm.
· Big Fish is closed.
Health Center/Clinic 715-638-5100 General Assistance 715-558-7474 or 7434
Tribal Government 715-634-8934 Conservation 715-634-0102
Tribal Accounting 715-634-7453 Tribal Police 715-634-8350
Vocational Rehab 715-634-9213 Tribal Court 715-558-7430
Income Maintenance 715-558-7458 Food Basket Requests 715-558-7911
Mens Shelter 715-558-2034 Womens Shelter 715-634-9360
We are asking everyone to be mindful of others, please stay home and adhere to safe-distance and daily selfcare. We are doing exceptionally well with precautions and quarantines. We will keep you updated as necessary as things are constantly changing. Please continue to follow the Tribe's Facebook page or tune into WOJB for these updates. I am extremely grateful for the employees and volunteers working together for the safety of our People.
By Louis Taylor
I hope everyone is doing well, staying healthy , and remaining calm as we fight the COVID-19 epidemic surrounding our community.
Recent data from local county and State of Wisconsin health officials report the number of positive Coronavirus (COVID-19) cases is at 1,059 Statewide. The greatest number of positive cases are in Milwaukee and Madison. Sawyer County remains at 0, with no positive cases as of this writing.
If, and when (unfortunately it's inevitable), the virus reaches us here at LCO and Sawyer County, the County Chairman and myself as Tribal Chairman, along with Emergency Response Team Members, will be the first to be notified. Please don't believe any other sources. When the virus hits here, we will let our community know immediately.
LCO is doing great by following the Governor's "Safer at Home" Order. Please continue to practice social distancing.
If anyone is out of town, we ask that they remain at that location, until the virus passes. Our Tribal Members here are taking necessary precautionary measures by staying at home. We don't want out-of-towners coming here to jeopardize the health of our people who are following the Governor's Order.
It is inevitable that the Coronavirus will hit us here at LCO and Sawyer County. We can keep it minimal if we stay at home, limit interactions with others, keep at least 6 feet apart, and limit time getting groceries, medicines, or other necessities. As with any other illness, keep your distance and use good hygiene to prevent the spread of germs.
For updates on the Coronavirus in the State of Wisconsin, please visit www.dhs.wisconsin.gov/covid- l 9.
Tribal Government essential employees are working, but with no face-to-face contact with clients. A list of program numbers has been posted on the Tribe's Facebook page. Also, you may call the Tribal Office general number, 715-634-8934, leave a detailed message, and someone will return your call. Also, our essential businesses remain open with shortened hours. This information is posted on the same Facebook page.
Last, but certainly not least, I applaud the people working during this crisis. I know it is mentally exhausting and there is fear, no doubt. Your dedication is proven by your presence at work and you will be rewarded. Everyone, please remain safe and healthy; we will get through this.
By Louis Taylor
In an attempt to keep you informed with this ongoing crisis we face, there are many challenges ahead, but I want to assure you that we are taking every step necessary to keep our membership safe, healthy and informed. I’ll be personally working with our Emergency Response Team and will give regular updates as often as I can.
As a sovereign Tribe, we will decide when we will lift the public health emergency restrictions, but, at the present time we are following the Governor’s safer-at-home order. We have a good working relationship with the Governor who respects our sovereignty. The Governor, Lt. Governor and their administrative staff have been giving us weekly briefings.
The LCO Tribal Governing Board (TGB), Emergency Management, and Health Center have a very good working relationship with Sawyer County Officials and Public Health. The following agencies are holding a daily call to coordinate the joint effort sharing information and preventative measures taken: LCO and Sawyer County Emergency Management, Sawyer County and LCO Chairman’s offices, the Sheriff, LCO Health and County Health & Human Services.
In addition, all of our public safety agencies are communicating on a daily basis.
For the safety, well-being and financial security of our tribal employees and their families, the TGB is seriously looking at unemployment insurance options as we monitor the financial situation of our tribal entities to sustain current and future operations. We have adequate resources available, but to preserve those resources, we are considering the alternatives.
Until further notice, the TGB made the decision to close the LCO Tribal Administration Offices, but essential tribal government services will continue and be accessible by phone or email. If you need any assistance, please call or email the necessary department if you know the extension, or call the Tribal Office main number and leave a message.
TGB members continue to work on this constantly evolving situation and monitor this public health crisis. We are also receiving constant updates regarding the federal stimulus package and determining how this affects us as a Tribe in our current status and going forward.
I want our membership to know there are currently no confirmed Covid-19 cases in Sawyer County or LCO. When there is a first confirmation, Sawyer County Public Health will issue a press release and our Public Relations Department will immediately share that release. In the meantime, that official Press Release is the only source for confirmation you should rely on.
When and if we get a confirmed case, we have measures in place to deal with the situation.
I want to thank our community members for complying with the Governor’s Safer-at-Home Order and doing your part in leveling the curve here at LCO.
Our Tribal Governing Board wants all the volunteers and essential personnel who are continuing to work through this crisis to know how much we appreciate you and all you are doing to keep our people safe, healthy and financially secure.
By LCDR Summer Pearson,
USPHS, MHA, MLS (ASCP)
Lac Courte Oreilles Community Health Center
Lac Courte Oreilles Health Center is closely monitoring the coronavirus outbreak and working with the Indian Health Service, Sawyer County Health Department, Wisconsin Department of County Health, and Hayward Hospital following guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is a respiratory illness that can spread from person to person. The virus that causes COVID-19 is a novel coronavirus that was first identified during an investigation into an outbreak in Wuhan, China. The first case of COVID-19 in the United States was reported on January 21.
Updated Coronavirus screening guidelines from the CDC state that if someone has a fever, cough or shortness of breath, and is not in need of urgent medical care they should first call their doctor or local health department to determine if testing is appropriate. The same approach applies to those that have been in direct contact with someone who is known to have COVID-19 and have a fever or symptoms of respiratory illness.
If you are worried you have been exposed to coronavirus (COVID-19) or are experiencing fever or symptoms of respiratory illness:
A Sawyer County Community COVID-19 Screening Hotline has been established and is available Monday -Friday from 9:00 am-4:00 pm. The purpose of this hotline is to help identify people in our community who may be appropriate for coronavirus testing. All individuals who have any of the following respiratory symptoms: cough, fever or shortness of breath should call the hotline at 715-934-4518. A healthcare professional will ask you a series of questions to determine if testing is appropriate.
If the patient is a Tribal Member or has established care with Lac Courte Oreilles Community Clinic, they may receive their testing at the clinic. The employees on the hotline understand this and will instruct the patient where to go for testing and give the patient their appointment time. We have established a drive-thru testing site for patient convenience and staff safety.
Also, starting Monday, March 30, 2020 the Pharmacy will be performing curbside pick-up so patients can continue to ‘social distance’. Please order all prescription refills and medications by calling 715-638-5146. Please order 3 business days before your supply runs out, if possible. This will allow time to renew prescriptions from the prescriber, order products from the wholesaler, and get prior authorizations from the insurance carrier as needed. To double check that your order is complete the first time, please be prepared to tell us specifically, item by item, which medicines you need.
Medicine will be hand delivered to the clinic’s main entrance in the front. A pharmacist will be there to bring medication orders out to the vehicle and offer consultations as required. This will be for pick up only. Please call 715-638-5146 to order your prescription refills. Those needing home delivery let us know and we will deliver following CDC guidelines.
Dental is open for emergent dental services. Dental hours are 8am – 2:00pm. Please contact the dental department at 715-638-5144 for any dental needs.
The Lac Courte Oreilles Community Health Center has worked diligently preparing the Lac Courte Oreilles Health Center staff and community emergency response for the COVID-19 virus for several months and will continue to work with the state of Wisconsin and Indian Health Service to procure enough personal protective equipment (PPE) for our health care workers.
We Thank You for your support and assistance in helping to keep our community safe during this time. We encourage you to stay home and stay safe.
Submitted by LCO Health Center
Beginning Monday March 30, 2020, the LCO Health Center Pharmacy will temporarily convert to curbside medication pickup only.
We are doing this to increase social distancing and decrease the risk of spreading COVID-19 and other infections, by reducing foot traffic within the LCO clinic.
Please order all prescription refills and medications by calling 715-638-5146. Please order 3 business days before your supply runs out, if possible. This will allow time to renew prescriptions from the prescriber, order products from the wholesaler, and get prior authorizations from the insurance carrier as needed. To double check that your order is complete the first time, please be prepared to tell us specifically, item by item, which medicines you need.
Medicine will be hand delivered to the clinic’s main entrance in the front. A pharmacist will be there to bring medication orders out to the vehicle and offer consultations as required. This will be for pick up only. Please call 715-638-5146 to order your prescription refills.
LCO Health Center Pharmacy Going to Curbside Only
COVID-19 Statement from the Lac Courte Oreilles Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Indians
Greetings Tribal Members, March 13, 2020
The Tribal Governing Board is aware that people are worried about the spread of the Coronavirus, or COVID-19, and we want to reassure you that we are well prepared to care for our tribal members if the virus were to spread to the northern regions of our State. You may have heard there are 19 confirmed cases in Wisconsin.
Please carefully read the following fact sheet (World Health Organization, 2020) and follow the recommendations listed for ways to prevent the spread. We have been following recommendations from federal and tribal authorities, Centers for Disease Control, White House, Indian Health Service, and Bureau of Indian Affairs, about precautions we must utilize so we can be better prepared. We will have information sessions on updates from Public Health, Public Safety, and Emergency Preparedness Teams through our clinic as they occur so we can monitor the health about the spread of the COVID-19 for our tribal community.
Also, if you become ill with fever and cough symptoms, just like with the flu, please call your supervisor, do not come to work, and contact your medical provider. Finally, we understand that many in are worried about travel. While the risk of contracting the Coronavirus is low in our area and there are some travel restrictions in other parts of the world, if you are uncomfortable about flying please go to the CDC website as it is updated at all times and there are notices and warnings regarding travel. Please remember that you are not only protecting yourself but also your entire community.
We are taking this seriously and monitoring the situation constantly. We will notify tribal members immediately if there are additional recommendations about travel and health precautions. At this time, we are postponing all Tribally sponsored events and temporarily putting all staff travel on hold until further notice for the protection of our Tribal Community.
Lac Courte Oreilles Tribal Chairman
TGB Issues Memo to All Tribal Employees
The Tribal Governing Board has been working with all departments who will be responding to the COVID 19 Virus Pandemic and we are declaring a Medical State of Emergency. As our Schools are closing, and we are concerned for the health and well-being of our Elders, Children, Community Members, and Staff, we are imposing the following guidelines for operations:
1. If staff members are sick or exposed to someone from one of the “Hotspots of Positive COVID19”, then they need to be allowed to go home and quarantine themselves. The staff will be allowed to return to work when cleared by their medical provider. The staff member will be put on administrative leave and it must be written on their timecards for the days of leave “COVID-19”. It will be expected of all staff quarantined, that you will not be out in public and will restrict yourself to your homes.
2. For staff members that are taking care of small children that are home due to school closures, then you also will be allowed to stay home or utilize “flex time.” The Staff member will need it to be noted on their timecards “COVID 19”. If, you can, it would be appreciated that you could work from home with the approval of your director and your time can documented.
3. For those that are quarantined, we will be setting up a contact person for you to call if you need food or supplies, which we will be having volunteers to assist us in providing food to these people in need. The schools and elderly centers will also be providing food to their students/clients. We will be working with our Food Distribution Program who at this time, will be able to deliver food to their client’s homes if needed.
4. Those staff members that are not quarantined or taking care of elderly or children, we appreciate your availability and dedication to the Tribe in your continued work here for our people and please understand that we will need you more than ever at this time. If your department is slow because of the restricted access or the programs being postponed or cancelled, please reach out and volunteer to some of our other areas to assist, or to help make or distribute food baskets. This is a time that we all need to pull together and help each other and our community.
5. Please understand that we have currently locked all Tribal Administration Building entrances except for the main door. We are limiting access so that we can screen people for any sickness or exposure. Please do not let anyone in the side or back doors as we want to keep all other staff and others as safe and healthy as we can.
6. Please continue to monitor the Tribal, School, Health Center, and Housing Websites, and Facebook Pages for updated information which will have links for additional information.
Miigwech for everyone’s cooperation.
COVID-19 Memo from the Tribal Governing Board
Due to the rapid spread of the virus in the U.S. and abroad, as well as the risks to the elderly and individuals who have respiratory issues or immune deficiencies, the Tribal Governing Board is asking people to adopt the following simple measures to aid in fighting the spread of the virus.
Individuals who have symptoms of acute respiratory illness are recommended to stay home and not come to work until they are free of fever (100.4° F [37.8° C] or greater using an oral thermometer), signs of fever, and any symptoms for at least 24 hours, without the use of fever-reducing or other symptom altering medicines (e.g. cough suppressants). Individuals should notify their supervisor and stay home if they are sick
Employees should avoid close contact with people who are sick.
Sick? Contact a healthcare provider and stay home. Monitor your temperature.
Employees should wear a face mask at work if they’re not feeling well to prevent spreading diseases to others.
Employees staying with anyone who has travelled to a high-risk country should consider quarantining themselves.
Avoid touching your face, specifically your eyes, nose, and mouth. Avoid sharing food too.
Individuals should cover their noses and mouths with a tissue when coughing or sneezing (or an elbow or shoulder if no tissue is available).
Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
COVID-19 Statement from LCO Emergency Management
LCO Emergency Management Coordinator
Lac Courte Oreilles Emergency Management is monitoring the current situation(s) surrounding coronavirus-2019 (COVID-19) in conjunction with Lac Courte Oreilles Community Health officials. Currently, LCO Emergency Management is maintaining a level of readiness and situation awareness regarding COVID-19. LCO Community Health is the lead agency within the reservation for infectious diseases and LCO Emergency Management will support them as necessary.
LCO Emergency Management will continue to work with our tribal, county, state, and federal partners to provide the public with updated information and internally to ensure information is properly coordinated and disseminated. LCO Emergency Management, LCO Community Health, and our county counterparts have plans in place regarding infectious diseases and to ensure continued health and human service needs are met.
We ask that the public continues to follow proper hygiene and look for official information from public health agencies, the Center for Disease Control (CDC), and Emergency Management. LCO Emergency Management will provide additional releases as necessary through the Tribe’s Public Relations Officer and its Facebook page.
Mino Maajisewin Program Suspending Home Visits
By Jenny Bisonette
In an effort to keep children, families, community members, and staff as safe as possible during this uncertain time of COVID-19, the LCO Mino Maajisewin Home Visitation Program is temporarily suspending in-home visits to participating families beginning immediately. Staff will not be providing transportation at this time. If you are in need of a gas voucher or other service, please contact your home visitor or Jenny Bisonette by phone or messaging. We are trying to limit face-to-face contact as much as possible. If you are sick and/or experiencing cold or flu symptoms, please protect yourself and others by staying home.
Mino Maajisewin staff want to maintain contact with our families by calls, texts, messaging, and possibly by “virtual home visits’ using technology such as Skype, FaceTime, or other options. Your home visitor will be contacting you in the next few days to set up a time to connect. Your home visitor will also let you know when we are able to start face-to-face home visits again. As of now, Mino Maajisewin will follow the Wisconsin’s School closure until Monday, April 6, 2020. Please note this timeline may change.
When regular routines are changed and, in a time, when much is unknown, we realize that this can be a time of greater stress for families. Please reach out to Mino Maajisewin staff if you are in need of additional resources or just need to talk through something.
This is a rapidly evolving situation and we encourage you to keep informed by regularly checking the WI Department of Health Services (DHS) DHS website for updates, and to follow @DHSWI on Facebook and Twitter, or dhs.wi on Instagram. Additional information can be found on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) CDC website.
Please contact your home visitor or other Mino Maajisewin staff if you have questions or need additional information. We appreciate your understanding and patience during this difficult time.
Jenny Bisonette, Program Coordinator: (715) 558-7734 / Cell: (715) 699-2959
Melody Guibord, Home Visitor: (715) 558-7736 / Cell: (715) 699-2435
Theresa Martin, Home Visitor: (715) 558-7737
Carla Miller, Family Resource Specialist: (715) 558-7739 / Cell: (715) 558-9462
Tiffiny Nielsen, Home Visitor: (715) 558-7738
Mary Tribble, Grant Manager: (715) 558-7735
Please see below for additional resources that might be helpful when talking to your child about COVID-19. This information comes from the Healthy Families America (HFA) website.
For parents—this section provides resources for parents for how to talk with children about COVID-19. These strategies emphasize reassurance of child fears and anxieties, modeling proper hygiene, establishing routines in the case of school closures, and monitoring media use:
For children—this section provides age-appropriate resources for children (e.g., songs and videos) regarding proper hygiene, illness, and visits to medical professionals:
LCO Health Center Dental Department Going to Emergency Service Only
On behalf of Health Director:
Due to the current COVID-19 pandemic, the LCOCHC is taking measures to protect patients from unnecessary exposure. In doing so, the Dental Department is closing for routine treatment until further notice. The Dental Department will be seeing patients for true dental emergencies only at this time, and all non-emergent treatment will be delayed in an effort to reduce virus transmission. For select patients in the midst of treatment, completion of on-going treatment will be scheduled as appropriate. Please contact the Dental Department with any questions. Thank you for your efforts to “flatten the curve” as we work to best serve our patients and our community.