SAN CARLOS – The San Carlos Apache Tribe continues to be aggressive in its attempts to stave off the COVID-19 virus.
During an April 1 meeting, the Tribal Council voted unanimously to limit funerals, wakes and services at burial sites to no more than 10 people. That matches an earlier declaration that limited all other gatherings to no more than 10 people.
The tribe has also implemented a curfew, in which no one other than those exempt (including first responders, health-care workers and others working in essential service sectors) may be out. The curfew is from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. the following morning.
“Our plan adapts to the changing circumstances presented by this virus,” Tribal Chairman Terry Rambler said in announcing the latest moves. “The fact that we do not have one positive case shows that our plan is working. However, in the case of the first patient with COVID-19, we will be ready and so should you.”
Early on, the tribe adopted CDC recommendations on social distancing and closures of non-essential businesses. And recently the tribe announced it has suspended vending permits and licenses of non-members; and suspended all permits for access, recreation, game hunting and fishing for non-tribal members.
It has also closed the Apache Gold Resort and Casino, and designated the casino as a secondary hospital location for quarantining and isolation for those with mild to moderate symptoms. And the juvenile section of the San Carlos Apache Adult and Juvenile Detention Facility has been reserved for isolating inmates who have been tested for COVID-19, until the results are received.
“Do not even think of using COVID-19 as an excuse to get out of jail,” said San Carlos Apache Police Chief Alejandro Benally. “If you have symptoms, you will get tested and then put in isolation. False reporting is a violation of the tribe’s Law and Order Code.”
Violators of the tribe’s resolutions could be criminally charged and face fines of up to $1,000.
To date, the tribe has tested 52, with 48 tests coming back as negative. Four test results are still pending.