Yakama Nation is returning to Phase 2 of its COVID-19 reopening plan due to increased infections and limited hospital capacity in Yakima County.
A Yakama Nation press release on Friday said that all residents of the Yakama reservation, whether Native American or not, should limit gatherings with people outside their homes to 10 people per week. Travel outside of the reservation should be limited to essential travel only.
Longhouses and churches are strongly encouraged to delay spiritual gatherings, except for funerals which follow specified guidelines, the statement said.
“All residents of the Yakama reserve should continue to wear masks, socially distance themselves, wash their hands and are strongly encouraged to get the COVID-19 vaccine,” the press release said.
A September 11 event to honor veterans on Saturday morning was postponed in light of the new restrictions. The event was scheduled at the Yakama Veterans Building in Toppenish, but delayed due to the restriction on large gatherings.
Yakama Nation Returns to Phase 2
Yakama Nation government offices closed to the public on Friday. Key government employees will be on hand for meetings by appointment from 8 a.m. to noon on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays only. The partial closure will remain in effect until September 24. Yakama Nation public health and safety officers will continue to work full-time at their usual duty stations during this partial shutdown, the statement said.
The Yakama Nation reported 82 active cases of COVID and six people hospitalized on Thursday.
Across the county, 61 people were hospitalized and 260 new cases on Friday, the Yakima Health District reported. The case rate per 100,000 was 1,031 in the past two weeks, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention assesses community transmission in the county as high.