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An explosion of Coronavirus infections on the reservation is being attributed to school restarting.

As of press time, one death from COVID-19 has been reported. There are 213 confirmed cases of COVID-19 have been recorded in Roosevelt County. The Fort Peck Indian Reservation covers a large portion of the county. Of the confirmed cases, 150 are active cases and 62 people have recovered from the disease.

Majority of these cases are on the reservation, according to the Montana Department of Health and Human Services.

The State Medical Office, which maintains data on COVID-19 infections reported, has indicated the past two weeks have seen a “dramatic increase” of cases.

The increase in cases is caused by schools reopening, Labor Day weekend gatherings and the continuing spread of the virus in congregate living settings, such as nursing homes and jails, said Stacey Anderson, state epidemiologist.

Before this, Montana’s COVID-19 level was stable at about 800 cases per week when Governor Steve Bullock issued a mask order for the state.

“We actually had an increase of 490 cases last week over the week prior.” The 1,240 cases for the week ending Sept. 18 was an all-time high, said Jim Murphy of the states Communicable Disease Bureau within the state health department.

Six counties were responsible for 75 percent of the increase: Roosevelt, Yellowstone, Missoula, Deer Lodge, Flathead, and Rosebud.

In response, the Tribes went back to ‘Phase 1’ of operations. Some tribal programs may be closed.

For most people, COVID-19 causes mild to severe symptoms. People with compromised immune systems, elderly people, and children are prone to the disease. It can cause death, but vast majority of people who contract it recover.

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