State making sure tribes have supplies

PIERRE, S.D. (DRG News) – The Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe in South Dakota continues to operate checkpoints at the reservation borders to stop non-tribal members from driving through in an effort to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Part of the reservation covers Dewey County, where there’s been over 20 new cases of COVID-19 reported in the last two weeks.

State epidemiologist Dr. Josh Clayton says the Health Department is looking into what caused the spike in numbers.

Information posted on the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe’s Facebook page yesterday (July 9) says they’ve had 33 total positive cases with 29 of those still actively recovering.

South Dakota Health Department Secretary Kim Malsam-Rysdon says the state is working with the tribes to be sure all have the COVID-19 testing supplies they need.

Malsam-Rysdon says while the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe hasn’t asked the state for assistance, they are getting testing supplies.

Malsam-Rysdon says state officials also hold weekly conference calls with most tribes and a separate weekly call with tribal leaders.

In May (May 8), Governor Kristi Noem sent letters to Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe Chairman Harold Frazier and Oglala Sioux Tribe President Julian Bear Runner demanding checkpoints be removed from state and US highways. Noem says she spent time talking about the checkpoints with President Donald Trump and U.S. Interior Secretary David Bernhardt during a flight on Air Force One from South Dakota to Washington, D.C., last week (July 3-4) after both men attended a huge fireworks display at Mount Rushmore.