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MENOMINEE INDIAN RESERVATION — With the increase in reported COVID-19 cases on the Menominee Indian Reservation in central Wisconsin, the Menominee Tribe has closed its tribal government offices and facilities for two weeks.

The tribe’s Emergency Management Coordinator, along with Incident Command, declared a curfew order for the reservation. The curfew went into effect Wednesday and expires Aug. 31, with curfew hours between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m.

The Menominee Indian Reservation, as well as areas surrounding the Menominee Nation, and Wisconsin are experiencing an alarming rise in positive COVID-19 cases. Tribal government employees in four different departments have tested positive and employees in three other departments have had direct contact with positive cases.

“These facts threaten the ability for the Menominee Tribe to fulfill its role to serve and protect the community’s safety,” the tribe said in a press release.

The closures are meant to stop the spread of the virus in the community and within tribal departments.  

According to data, positive cases on the reservation have nearly doubled within a week.  The reservation, which shares boundaries with Menominee County, has 17 positive cases and eight active cases as of July 27.  

Tribal offices will be closed to the public and employees. Menominee tribal government department and services staff will work remotely until Aug. 11 and will be available through email or phone. There will be exceptions for critically essential employees, caregivers, contractors, vendors, food delivery services and shipping and delivery. 

The following critically essential departments and services will be available, with employees reporting to work and providing services to the tribal community:

Menominee Tribal Police Department, Menominee Tribal Detention Center, Menominee Tribal Aging Division and CBRF, Menominee Tribal Clinic, Menominee Tribal Conservation, Menominee Tribal Food Distribution, Menominee Tribal Utilities, Menominee Tribal Transit, Menominee Tribal Gaming Commission, Menominee Tribal Maintenance and Housekeeping and Eagle’s Nest Shelter. Food delivery services also will continue.  

The closures do not extend to the Menominee Casino or other tribal chartered enterprises. These entities would announce any changes to operations.

Menominee tribal leaders ask that you keep safety in mind by practicing social distancing along with everyday preventive actions to reduce the spread of COVID-19, including wearing face masks or face coverings and frequently washing your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.

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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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Levi Rickert
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Levi "Calm Before the Storm" Rickert (Prairie Band Potawatomi Nation) is the founder, publisher and editor of Native News Online. Rickert was awarded Best Column 2021 Native Media Award for the print/online category by the Native American Journalists Association. He serves on the advisory board of the Multicultural Media Correspondents Association. He can be reached at [email protected].