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Covid Surge Decline Allows Cow Creek Tribe to Close Emergency Testing Site

11:58 PM · Oct 12, 2021

As COVID-19 cases in Douglas County decline, the Cow Creek Tribe has ended their drive-thru testing and gone back to testing only in the two clinics. The Cow Creek Tribe responded to the surge in COVID-19 cases by transitioning from clinical testing to large-scale, drive-thru testing seven days a week starting on Aug. 14. They ended weekend testing two weeks ago and ended drive-thru testing on Friday. When the tribe started the drive-thru testing, Douglas Public Health Network reported 141 cases of COVID-19. When the tribe closed the drive-thru, DPHN reported 44 cases. Melinda Sprague works in the Public Health division of the Tribe’s Health and Wellness Department. She was in the drive-thru tent on Stephens St. where they would see 24% of the thousands of people coming test positive. In two months, they tested over 6,300 people. “I remember thinking, this is crazy,” Sprague said. “We really ramped up and it was a long haul, but there isn’t the need that there was two months ago. We really have done, I think, a commendable thing for the community.” The tribe is still offering testing and vaccines in the two clinics to tribal members, staff, and the community. Sprague said the crisis mode has dwindled a little bit in her office so they can focus on reaching the seven counties in their service district with other public health initiatives. They have a new Mobile Medical Travel that looks like an ambulance with the Cow Creek logo on it. They are using it to take things like vaccines, personal protective equipment, emergency preparedness backpacks and educational materials to areas that are harder to reach.

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