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Friday’s testing in Browning was directed at Tribal employees, and Councilman Rodney “Minnow” Gervais was among the first in line to be tested.

The Blackfeet Tribe reached a landmark last week as personnel from the Southern Piegan Health Center and the Tribal Health Improvement Program set up a drive-through coronavirus testing station at the old Eagle Shields.

On Friday, May 15, Tribal Employees were tested while on Saturday the general public was invited to drive through and get a test. All the tests are being done for free.

Blackfeet Care Center Director and Incident Command member Marie Weasel organized the events, reporting having conducted around 550 tests over the two days. She said about the same number of vehicles came through both days. With testing personnel fully equipped with personal protective equipment, each test was recorded and prepared for shipment to Helena where the results of the tests are gathered.

It only takes a couple days to get the results back, she said, and the good news so far is that no one in the Friday group of tests returned a positive; all were negative. Saturday’s tests were sent off on Sunday so those results should be forthcoming.

The Tribal Health Improvement Program is responsible for answering questions coming in from the public. And while anyone testing positive will be advised by the program so they can conduct contact tracing, others may find out the results of their test by calling 338-7749.

Currently the programs are awaiting more test kits from the state of Montana, but meanwhile plans are being laid to conduct outreach testing in the smaller Reservation communities.

“The community has taken this well,” Weasel said. “We were thanked over and over.”

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