Northern Arapaho member tests positive for COVID-19

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Earlier today, the Northern Arapaho Tribe shared that the first case of COVID-19 on the Wind River Reservation had been confirmed. Below is additional information about the case along with a message from the Northern Arapaho Business Council (NABC) and Wind River Cares.

The NABC confirms a woman in her 70s from the Ethete area has tested positive for Novel Coronavirus, also known as COVID-19. This is the first documented case involving a Northern Arapaho member. She is in stable condition and receiving medical care at an area hospital.


Health authorities are taking all necessary precautions to screen and isolate, as necessary, anyone who may have had contact with the patient.

“We are gravely concerned about the health threat that COVID-19 poses to Northern Arapaho members and the larger Wind River Indian Reservation,” said Chairman Lee Spoonhunter of the Northern Arapaho Business Council. “In order to reduce the risk to our community, the NABC declared a State of Emergency earlier this month, and is working closely with Gov. Gordon and his staff, as well as other local, state and federal healthcare authorities.

“Let this news be a wake-up call: COVID-19 is here and it is critical that every Northern Arapaho member and family take necessary precautions.”

In response to the growing COVID-19 threat, the NABC has taken the following actions:

  • Issued a Declaration of Emergency on March 11 requiring every Tribal program director to implement a prevention and response plan to decrease the risk of virus exposure.
  • Prohibited all non-essential work-related travel by Tribal employees.
  • Temporarily closed the Wind River Hotel & Casino, and canceled all in-person, Tribe-sponsored events and gatherings.

Additionally, Wind River Cares has instituted operational changes to maximize its ability to respond to COVID-19 cases while limiting public exposure. The NABC and Wind River Cares officials ask that members heed public precautions in order to reduce the risk of COVID-19 to themselves and their families. Recommendations include: wash hands regularly; disinfect commonly-used surfaces at home and in the workplace; stay home if you don’t feel well; avoid public gatherings. Anyone can become ill with COVID-19, but the elderly and individuals with underlying health conditions are especially vulnerable.

“Now is the time for the Arapaho people to look out for each other,” Chairman Spoonhunter said. “With our prayers and traditional way of life, and by following common sense health precautions, we will emerge from this challenge stronger than before.”

The latest COVID-19 updates from County 10 can be found here.