COVID-19 case numbers have been dropping steadily around Montana since November and more and more residents have been getting the vaccine as it becomes available. Friday, (2/12) Governor Greg Gianforte lifted the mandatory statewide mask mandate and for most of us we're starting to feel like there may be light at the end of the COVID-19 nightmare tunnel.

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However, many in Montana are still at risk, especially the state's Native population. In a press release on Tuesday (2/16) Crow Tribe Chairman Frank White Clay declared a State of Emergency within the borders of the Crow reservation. Citing rising case numbers among Tribal members and limited resources and inpatient capacity to effectively manage the disease on the two million acre reservation, a “Stay Home Order” shall be in effect to help mitigate the transmission of the Coronavirus. White Clay wrote,

The Indian Health Service (IHS) is working closely with Tribal governments, local, state and Federal public health officials to respond to this public health threat with ongoing COVID -19 pandemic.

The Guardian reported earlier this month that indigenous people are dying at twice the rate of white Americans from COVID-19. According to available data,

Nationwide one in every 475 Native Americans has died from Covid since the start of the pandemic, compared with one in every 825 white Americans and one in every 645 Black Americans.

Many believe the numbers to be significantly higher because of limited reporting and other factors.

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