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During the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, tribal officials report that there is typically an upsurge in cases after tribal citizens attend holiday gatherings. This holiday season, there is greater apprehension because of the widely reported Omicron variant that is spreading rapidly away from reservations, particularly in larger metropolitan areas

Enjoying the holidays with family and friends is important, but for the sake of our tribal communities, precautions should be taken to ensure Indian Country is not hit with large surges after the holiday season is over.

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On Thursday, the Indian Health Service (IHS) Chief Medical Officer issued a statement  the Omicron variant and gathering during the holidays: “President Biden announced new actions to protect the country and help communities and hospitals battle Omicron, building on the robust plan he announced earlier this month to get people maximum protection ahead of the winter and prepare for rising cases driven by the new variant.

We must all continue to stress how critical it is to be vaccinated and to get booster shots before gathering with our family and friends over the holidays. The recent emergence of the Omicron variant has further emphasized the importance of primary vaccination, boosters, and prevention efforts to protect against COVID-19. These are important because we know that COVID has disproportionately impacted the American Indian and Alaska Native population.”

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The Mohawk Council of Akwesasne and the Saint Regis Mohawk Tribe share the importance of the holiday season for families, children, and others. In response to large number of active COVID-19 cases; however, they are asking community members to please stay healthy by keeping the following safety tips in mind:

GENERAL ADVISORY:

STAY IN YOUR BUBBLE: Limit gatherings to individuals in your immediate bubble.

WEAR A MASK: Wear a properly fitted mask that covers your nose and mouth in all public indoor spaces to help protect yourself and others.

SOCIAL DISTANCE: Stay 6 feet from others who don’t live with you.

GATHERING SPACES: Avoid crowds and poorly ventilated indoor spaces.

WASH HANDS: Wash your hands often with soap and warm water and/or use hand sanitizer if soap and water not available.

STAY HOME WHEN SICK: Avoid visiting others and traveling if you are not feeling well.

GET TESTED:  Get tested if you are symptomatic (showing symptoms)

IF YOU ARE EXPOSED: Quarantine and get tested at least 7 days following a suspected exposure.

From Native News Online: Happy Holidays and Be Well!

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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 RxDestroyer, The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society and the American Dental Association. This grant funding and sponsorship support have no effect on editorial consideration in Native News Online. 
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