As of Monday, Nov. 30, Public Information Officer James McNeely reported 33 deaths on the Blackfeet Reservation due to COVID-19, with 29 having occurred within the last month and a half. There are currently 60 active cases, with one having been added on Sunday, Nov. 29. There are nine hospitalizations and 1,138 cases since March 15 with 1,053 having recovered. McNeely said Incident Command is watching the national trend to see how the numbers are affected by the Thanksgiving holidays.
For now, the stay-at-home order remains in effect until 11:59 p.m. on Dec. 6, but McNeely said it will likely be extended past that date.
As a result, he encouraged folks to remain vigilant in wearing masks and following the rules set in place to slow the spread of the virus.
Robert DesRosier of Incident Command said that while plans were in the mix for widespread testing to resume, a possible shortage of tests has put them on hold at least until later in the week.
In news from the Browning Schools, winter sports schedules are currently in a state of flux. Activities Director Everett Armstrong said on Monday, Nov. 30, that he is awaiting final decisions from the Montana High School Association to put plans in place for wrestling and basketball.
“We had to throw the wrestling schedule out the window,” he said, noting that decisions from MHSA have precluded all schools’ previous scheduling. “We’re looking at not having any duals, but having triangulars and competing with Southwestern A and Northwestern A together.” Such contests would feature two from Southwestern A and one team from Northwestern A, or the reverse. Armstrong said he hopes to have the schedules worked out sometime on Dec. 1.
As far as basketball is concerned, the schedules are also being revised because no games will be played this month. “That means all games including tipoffs,” Armstrong said.
All of Browning’s non-conference games had initially been called off, but a recent notice from MHSA has changed that calculation. “We thought we’d probably not play Cut Bank or Shelby, but because of the MHSA notification we must reschedule the Cut Bank, Shelby and Havre games,” he said. “I’m waiting for answers.”
When the dust settles, Armstrong said their decisions will be sent to Blackfeet Incident Command for approval, and those plans will be submitted to the Browning School Board for their approval as well. All plans for winter sports, including speech and debate, have been developed and submitted to the proper authorities.
While the final outcome of winter sports was not known as of Nov. 30, the outlook should be clearer by the end of the week.