Since the McDermitt Fourth of July Rodeo, Fort McDermitt Tribe has increased by 25 positive cases of COVID-19, where there were previously none in the community of over 350 native residents. 

Ft. McDermitt Paiute Shoshone Tribe Wellness Center Health Director/Executive Director Jacqueline J. Bae, MD, MHA, FACHE said that the week after the Fourth of July Rodeo, 250 people in Ft. McDermitt tested in a community testing event, with 20 people testing positive. As of Saturday, July 25, five more people had tested positive. 

Bae said that residents had been being tested since April in the community with drive-thru testing and the first positive appearing last Monday. 

Once an individual tests positive, Bae said the resident is asked to self-quarantine/isolate for 14 days. Following a positive test, wellness center staff also conducts a contact-tracing investigation to ask those who have had exposure to the positive person to also quarantine/self-isolate for 14 days even if they have a negative test, for concern over the virus incubation period. 

Bae said that the staff who have been at the forefront of the COVID-19 response at the wellness center in Ft. McDermitt includes Infection Control Officer Nurse Practitioner Terry Cargile, APRN, Case Manager Trixie Byron, CHR/Home Health Aide Perla Castaneda, Outreach Coordinator Karen Crutcher, Incident Command and Chairman Tildon Smart and Patient Registration Clerk Sonya Hinkey. 

“We have a good epidemiology system - contact tracing and community mitigation,” said Bae in an email. “We are also making sure to revamp our infection control policies and protocols.” 

The wellness center has been in contact with the CDC and Nevada State Health for assistance and guidance for the COVID-19 pandemic response.

Bae said the wellness center is using an Abbott rapid test, which gives positive results in approximately five minutes and negative results in 13 minutes. 

Bae said that contact tracing showed an average of three contacts per person for those who may have already been exposed to the positive person through close contact.

Once positive individuals complete their self-quarantine/isolation, they are tested again. 

The Ft. McDermitt wellness center provides residents who are asked to quarantine with personal protective equipment (PPE), food staples, paper goods, clothing, disinfectant items and other necessities when needed throughout the quarantine period if requested. 

Bae said she hopes residents continue to focus on wearing face masks, social distancing and good handwashing habits as community mitigation efforts. 

Both COVID-19 testing and antibody testing is available at the wellness center in McDermitt. 

Humboldt County

As of Saturday, Humboldt County had topped 95 positive COVID-19 cases with 85 recovered, six self-isolating at home and four who died, leaving six active cases. Five new cases have been added in the county in the past week. 

Humboldt County Health Officer Charles Stringham, MD, continues to remind local residents to seek out testing if they experience COVID-like symptoms, or if they believe they have been exposed to the virus.

The Humboldt General Hospital Screening Clinic continues to test both symptomatic and asymptomatic residents from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. The clinic may be accessed from the ramp entrance on Mizpah Street. Residents should call (775) 623-5222, ext. 1379, to alert staff and then wait for assistance.

The Office of the Humboldt County Community Health Nurse also is offering to test asymptomatic persons with no known exposure. For more information or to make an appointment, please call the clinic at (775) 623-6575.