Question: What is the Oneida Public Health State of Emergency?
Answer: The Oneida Nation declared the Oneida Reservation was in a State of Public Health Emergency on March 12, 2020 due to the global COVID-19 pandemic. This declaration indicated a situation which caused the reservation to act in accordance with the Center for Disease Control (CDC) recommendations to take measures to protect our citizens and employees. Funding is tied to the public health state of emergency, including Emergency Management, COVID Quarantine Assistance Program, COVID General Welfare Program, TANF pandemic funds, and CARES funding.
Question: Why do we continue to keep our reservation in the state of emergency?
Answer: The Oneida Nation Reservation remains under a State of Public Health Emergency because the threat of COVID-19 still exists. Although the spread of COVID-19 has slowed down in our area and nationwide, we must continue to practice of safe protocol in some areas of operations where there may be susceptible individuals with compromised health conditions and where healthcare workers are most vulnerable to exposure. Additionally, our goal for vaccination rates have not been met.
Question: Why are governments and businesses all around us ending masking and other safety measures?
Answer: There is not currently a policy/ resolution that “requires” reopening/ safe operating plans be implemented or approved by public health. That said, it is a good idea and a recommendation from public health to have a written plan that will allow a department to pivot thru safety measures as the conditions change. Oneida public health and employee health nursing departments continue to work with various departments and event/ activity coordinators to assist in updating their safe operating plans by providing feedback on the current guidance.
However, if the levels begin to rise, then we will likely follow CDC guidance. The public health officer for Oneida will consider issuing any mandates necessary (such as the masking mandate).
Question: When will the state of emergency end?
Answer: We cannot answer with certainty when the State of Public Health Emergency will end. We will continue to amend the order with relaxing some of our safety measures such as masking if data continues to indicate a lower risk level in our area. While the Oneida Nation continues to require masking in some areas, we have opened a great deal of our operations while continuing the State of Public Health Emergency.
Continuing in this State will provide the Oneida Nation with opportunities for special funding and services. When our State of Public Health Emergency ends, many funding resources also end.