Dear Lower Elwha Klallam Community,
The Business Committee of the Lower Elwha Klallam Tribe understands the importance of the Tribe’s response to the pandemic disease known as COVID-19. The members of the Business Committee understand and respect those who have feelings of uncertainty and fear during this unprecedented time. Together we assure you that we are here for you and our commitment to community well-being has never wavered.
This worldwide pandemic has seriously affected our Tribe in recent months. It has quickly encompassed every aspect of our lives, including Tribal Government functions and services, the operation and profitability of our enterprises, and concern for the well-being of family and friends. We responded to COVID-19 by forming teams to address issues and changing the way we operate and do business in order to slow the spread in our community. With the rapid spread of the coronavirus in the State of Washington, including a positive test confirmed in our community over the weekend, COVID-19 remains a persistent and immediate danger to our Tribal members – our most precious resource. We are standing together, united as one Council, to reassure you that we are taking and will continue to take all actions necessary to protect our people.
In response to the COVID-19 emergency in our State, the Tribe is taking the additional step of enacting an Emergency Public Health Order and asking you to Stay Home and Stay Healthy by Business Committee Resolution 42-20. Through this Order, we are asking each of you to take this virus and the highly contagious COVID-19 disease seriously.
The Order is a mandate for all individuals residing within the jurisdictional boundaries of the Tribe to Stay Home and Stay Healthy. This means stay home. You can still go outside and go for walks, bike rides, and do yard work with those individuals that live in your home. But, NO GATHERINGS of individuals may take place beyond those who normally live together in the same home. We are asking everyone to avoid contact with others who do not live in your home. Do not congregate with people who do not live in your home—not even if you are outside.
We know there are things you have to do outside your home to maintain your family. You may still go out to grocery stores, convenience stores, gas stations, doctor’s offices and pharmacies. You may also go to restaurants to pick up to-go orders. You may visit Tribal Government offices that are open to receive essential services. If you are employed by an employer that is open, you may still go out to work. But please stay home and stay away from other people who do not live in your home to the maximum extent possible.
We want all of you to be safe, happy, and healthy and to look out for each other. Please follow the recommendations listed below and encourage others to follow them too:
- Wash your hands often with soap and water (for at least 20 seconds)
- Use hand sanitizer (60% or greater alcohol content) when hand washing is not available
- Clean frequently touched surfaces regularly throughout the day
- Self-isolate in your home if you are sick
- Call in before visiting a medical facility
- Get plenty of rest, drink fluids, eat healthy foods, and manage stress
- Keep Elders/vulnerable family members away from kids and other family members from outside the home
- Send one family person out to shop for groceries, pick up medications, etc.
The virus wants people to be in contact with as many other people as possible. Social distancing (staying at least 6 feet away from others and not gathering in crowds) is our best weapon against this virus!
We thank you for your continued consideration, support and cooperation in this matter. We are the Strong People because we use our heads and our resources at hand, and we work together. Let’s all do our part and beat this together.
If you are experiencing symptoms, contact the Lower Elwha Health Clinic (360-452-6252) or your doctor’s office by phone. If you are in need of additional information, visit the Tribe’s website (www.elwha.org) and click on Announcements or call the information hotline at (360) 452-8471 and press 9.
háʔnəŋ cən há Thank you,
Frances G. Charles, Chairwoman
Russell N. Hepfer, Vice-Chair