Osage Nation Closes Campuses After Employees Test Positive For COVID-19

Wednesday, June 3rd 2020, 12:17 pm
By: News On 6, Chinh Doan

PAWHUSKA, Okla. - The Osage Nation is back to modified operations of its campuses, departments and programs following its reopening May 15.

Leaders told News On 6 the goal is to contain the possible spread of the COVID-19 virus.

Principal Chief Geoffrey Standing Bear said the tribal nation is working to test all 500 employees and anyone who may have been exposed after six employees tested positive Tuesday.

His executive order closed most of the tribal nation’s offices to the public on Wednesday for at least the rest of the week.

Dr. Ron Shaw, CEO of Osage Nation Health Services, said there were two big events on Monday that those infected with COVID-19 attended: An election event at the nation’s main campus in Pawhuska and a funeral with 300 tribal members in Hominy.

“The people that were positive yesterday all had some previous affiliation with others,” said Shaw. “Two or three of them lived in the same house or were family members, so there were reasons to be in close contact earlier, so their contact could have been five days ago.”

Shaw said staff are working to track down anyone who may have had close contact with those infected.

Then, on June 8, all employees and anyone believed to have been exposed will be tested.

Staff can run the tests in house at the WahZhaZhe Health Center. If it comes back negative, the patient’s doctor could request to have the specimen sent to the regional lab to be confirmed.

Standing Bear said leaders are optimistic that quickly closing their offices will help things get back to normal sooner.

“Just remain calm and be smart about it,” said Standing Bear. “Don’t go overboard, stay productive as best you can, and support each other.”

Standing Bear said after testing next week, leaders will decide when to reopen offices.

The nation’s health clinic, treatment programs and domestic violence resources are still open.