The Northern Arapaho Tribe purchased the Day’s Inn building at the end of June and has been working with the City to bring it up to code so it can be used as temporary quarantine housing for community members. After the initial announcement, the community had some concerns. Rick Brannan, CEO of Wind River Family & Community Healthcare (Wind River Cares), wants to ensure the community that the overall goal of the facility is to protect the entire community from the COVID-19 virus.
“If you’re in a situation of living with individuals with underlying health conditions, the whole goal and intent of our medical shelter is to allow that person who has COVID to isolate on a volunteer basis, so they won’t infect the older family members at home,” Mr. Brannan explained.
Multi-Generational Homes, meaning extending family members living within the same household, is common on the Reservation. This means exposure and spreading of the virus to many people at once is possible and Elders are inevitably involved. There have been 14 Arapahoe deaths from the virus which accounts for 30% of all Wyoming deaths.
This has prompted a preventative health initiative trying to minimize and limit the spread of the virus. “No political agenda. We’re simply healthcare providers,” stated Brannan.
“We’re going to serve anybody who needs help regardless of who they are. It’s an equal opportunity virus.” Rick Brannan
The goal is to get it done as quickly as possible in preparation for the flu season. The hope is to serve the whole community at no cost or a very low cost. Everyone is welcome, not only Tribal Members. Wind River Family and Community Medical Shelter is for the Fremont County area. For anyone who wants to protect their loved ones. “We’re all neighbors. If we can’t help, then what?” asked Brannan.
Beyond the housing capabilities, it will include one exam room and be staffed 24 hours a day.
After COVID, the hope is to partner with an organization like Eagle’s Hope to utilize the facility and continue helping the people of Fremont County.