After its review of the situation, Blackfeet Incident Command and the Tribal Council on May 28 extended the restrictions in Ordinance 121 until June 30. “Everything will remain in place, but Robert DesRosier and the Incident Command Team are working on a phased reopening plan that should be done by the end of the month,” Public Information Officer James McNeely said.
Asked about reopening churches and some businesses like the Cut Bank Golf Course, McNeely said the team is looking at ways to get some such entities open - with restrictions - by the end of the month.
So far, there have been around 1,500 people tested for coronavirus in testing events on the Blackfeet Reservation with no positive results to date. McNeely said the tests are not the ones that sample from way back in people’s throats but instead sample from the nose. The tests are all supplied by Governor Steve Bullock’s administration. Each takes two days to get results back from the lab in Helena, and they are said to be 99.9% accurate.
While no positive results have yet to be found, McNeely urges caution. “The numbers are going up in Montana,” he said. “In Big Horn County they are still climbing, and the age groups are different. In other outbreaks it was mostly older folks affected, but at Crow younger people are being affected now.”
At present, McNeely says the testing has been halted while the Incident Command Team develops a testing policy in coordination with the Indian Health Service. Once that is completed, testing will resume in Browning and in the surrounding communities.
Finally, having heard stories about some BTBC candidates campaigning door-to-door without masks, McNeely stated, “That would be a violation of the Ordinance, and they should know better.” He suggested folks observing such behavior contact Incident Command, and they will make any such violators stop.