The suffering and lost lives from this new wave of the pandemic are especially tragic because we know that vaccines are widely available, safe and effective protection against Delta and all known strains of the virus. Oklahoma’s population is still only about 45% vaccinated, and that is far too low. To protect our Cherokee communities, we must get vaccinated and encourage our family, friends and neighbors to do the same. To cope with the rising number of COVID-19 patients, we have suspended elective surgeries. We also reactivated the COVID-19 surge plan for W.W. Hastings Hospital, which will increase in-patient room capacity by approximately 50%. As long as this surge lasts, our health system has had to redirect health care staff from other health centers to the W.W. Hastings Hospital to assist in caring for COVID-19 patients. The Cherokee Nation Health Services and Public Health teams are working around the clock to address this situation. Not only is the COVID-19 surge putting added pressures and risks on our health care professionals, but it is once again jeopardizing the overall well-being of our tribal nation and the most vulnerable among us. While our Cherokee elders were at greatest risk from the first wave of COVID-19, this new wave poses greater risk for people of all ages.
"The current swell in #COVID19 cases and related hospitalizations is driven by the spread of the highly contagious Delta variant": The Cherokee Nation reports a surge in hospitalizations, with 90% of new #Coronavirus cases among the unvaccinated. #Oklahoma https://t.co/34AZt70HW4— indianz.com (@indianz) August 6, 2021
This virus has proven to be unpredictable, but Cherokee Nation has the staff and vaccines to help stop this variant and keep our citizens safe. Vaccines are free for anyone age 12 or older who wants one. The vaccines are safe, effective and backed by years of scientific research and development. Each of our Cherokee Nation Health Center locations is able to provide a vaccine to patients regardless of tribal citizenship or residency. No appointment is needed but can be scheduled by calling 1-539-234-4099. Studies have shown that children and adults under 50 are 2.5 times more likely to become infected by the Delta variant. In an environment where no one is vaccinated or wearing a mask, the average person infected with the original strain would infect 2.5 people, but with the Delta variant in the same environment, that one person would infect up to four people. Fortunately, 70% of Cherokee Nation employees have been vaccinated. At our government and Cherokee Nation Businesses, we offered a $300 incentive for employees to get vaccinated. We believe safety comes first, and nothing can drive down this latest wave more quickly than a renewed effort to get vaccinations out across our reservation. Cherokee Nation employees also continue to rely on masks to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 at government buildings, business entities and health center facilities. We all have a role to play as we combat this new surge in the global pandemic. Truly, the opportunity to reduce COVID related death and misery for all of us is in the hands of each of us. I know that by taking the vaccine, following the CDC’s guidelines and being vigilant in wearing a mask, practicing social distancing, keeping good hygiene habits and staying home if you feel unwell, we can, together, overcome this latest variant of the pandemic.
Cherokee Nation’s Registration Office is closing its in-person assistance beginning Monday, Aug. 9, & will reopen on Sept. 1. Staff will continue to work on pending applications during this time.— CherokeeNation (@CherokeeNation) August 6, 2021
Read more on our Facebook page here: https://t.co/xt1EB7b96U pic.twitter.com/cXwidbYpGn
Chuck Hoskin Jr. is the 18th elected Principal Chief of the Cherokee Nation, the largest Indian tribe in the United States. He is only the second elected Principal Chief of the Cherokee Nation from Vinita, the first being Thomas Buffington, who served from 1899-1903. Prior to being elected Principal Chief, Hoskin served as the tribe’s Secretary of State. He also formerly served as a member of the Council of the Cherokee Nation, representing District 11 for six years.
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