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On Wednesday, the Saint Regis Mohawk Tribe responded to New York State Governor Kathy Hochul’s announcement earlier in the day to end the state’s mask mandate for indoor public spaces.

Despite the New York governor’s action, citing its tribal sovereignty, the Mohawk Tribe still requires mask wearing as a protective measure to safeguard public health against COVID-19.

Per Gov. Hochul, New York’s mask mandate ends on Thursday, though a federal mandate remains in effect for all forms of public transportation, including transportation hubs, such as bus and subway hubs and airports.

The tribe said in a press release the North Country, where the tribal lands are, leads the state of New York with a 10.6 percent positivity rate. The North Country Region is also leading the State in number of cases per 100,000 tests; with an average of 68.3 daily cases reported in the past seven days.

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Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, the tribe has generally developed and maintained protective measures above and beyond NYS requirements. This has been an essential part of measuring and assessing the benefits or adverse impact of external measures. It has contributed to the enhancement of some tribal measures that have helped to prevent and further control the spread of COVID-19, such as the continuation of the Tribe’s mask mandate in all public places in Akwesasne’s southern portion.

According to the tribe, 70.8 percent of eligible residents are fully vaccinated against COVID-19; as of February 8, 2022. This includes individuals ages 5-years old or more who have received their initial two-shot series of either the Pfizer of Moderna vaccine. The large number of community members who have chosen to protect themselves is encouraging however, we continue to urge those who remain unvaccinated to please get vaccinated.

Being vaccinated greatly reduces your chances of being hospitalized or possibly dying from COVID-19. It also helps protect those who cannot get vaccinated due to an existing medical condition or age.  

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The Native News Health Desk is made possible by a generous grant from the National Institute for Health Care Management Foundation as well as sponsorship support from the American Dental Association. This grant funding and sponsorship support have no effect on editorial consideration in Native News Online. 
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