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Two-week shut-down ordered at Fort Belknap Reservation

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Posted at 4:30 PM, Sep 30, 2020
and last updated 2020-09-30 18:30:15-04

The Fort Belknap Indian Reservation announced on Wednesday that it has mandated a two-week shut-down due to an increase in the number of COVID-19 cases.

The order goes into effect at 11:59 p.m. on Friday, October 2, and will last until 11:59 p.m. on October 16.

Tribal officials say the shut-down will allow public health personnel to continue conducting contact-tracing and help prevent the spread of COVID.

In a series of Facebook posts, officials provided the following details:

  • All residents should plan ahead and get any necessary supplies before the shut-down goes into effect.
  • Stay in your own home during the shut-down period except for "essential travel," which includes required medical care, and food and supply shopping in the immediate vicinity.
  • All travel must be reported in advance by calling 353-3250, 353-2525, or 353-3246.
  • Out-of-area travelers are restricted from Fort Belknap during the shut-down - no exceptions.
  • Hays/Lodgepole schools will be closed with the exception of school lunch program meals being passed out - no sit-down dining, one-directional routing.
  • Harlem schools are closed; school program meals are allowed to be passed out at the discretion of the school
  • Aaniiih Nakoda College is closed with the exception of distance learning already in progress.

The following businesses will remain open, but anyone entering must wear a mask;

  • Kwik Stop, Martin's Store, and Red Paint Creek Store: open because they provides essential food, gas, and supplies
  • Smoke House Grill: open with limited hours and carry-out orders only - no sit-down dining

As of Wednesday, Fort Belknap reports a total of 17 COVID cases; of those, three have recovered, and 14 are currently considered active.

A similiar order is currently in effect on the Blackfeet Reservation; click here for details.



There were 348 new cases and three new deaths added to the total on the Montana COVID-19 tracking site on Wednesday morning. The data below is from the official Montana website on September 30:

  • TOTAL CASES & RECOVERIES: Montana now reports 13,071 cumulative cases statewide, with 9,256 people recovered.
  • HOSPITALIZATIONS: The state reports 170 current hospitalizations, and a cumulative total of 717 hospitalizations.
  • ACTIVE CASES: The state reports there are currently 3,635 active COVID-19 cases in Montana.
  • TESTING: The number of tests increased by 3,232 over the previous 24-hour reporting period, for a new cumulative state-wide total of 343,158.
  • DEATHS: The cumulative number of deaths in Montana is at 180, an increase of three since Monday.

Numbers reported by the state each day occasionally differ from those reported by county public health departments due to periodic lag times in reporting data to the state. We encourage people to check the official website and/or Facebook page of their respective county health department for any information that is not yet included in the state's daily updates.



CDC: The federal Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) released data last month which emphasizes that people with contributing or underlying medical conditions are at much greater risk of dying from COVID-19. According to the CDC, an estimated 94% of all COVID-related deaths in the nation were people who had contributing medical conditions and diseases. The CDC report states: "For 6% of the deaths, COVID-19 was the only cause mentioned. For deaths with conditions or causes in addition to COVID-19, on average, there were 2.6 additional conditions or causes per death." The report states that the most common underlying medical conditions that contributed to COVID-related deaths include respiratory diseases such as pneumonia, asthma, and COPD; diabetes; hyptertensive diseases; and heart disease. Click here to learn more on the CDC website.

The CDC also recently released an update to their research into fatality rates associated with COVID-19. A summary of COVID-19 survival rates is shown below; the summary is one of five based on several scenarios. The CDC data and scenarios can be found here.

COVID-19 Survival Rates

  • Age 0-19: 99.997%
  • Age 20-49: 99.98%
  • Age 50-69: 99.5%
  • Age 70+: 94.6%

The CDC says the scenarios are intended to advance public health preparedness and planning, and are not predictions or estimates of the expected impact of COVID-19. The parameter values in each scenario will be updated and augmented over time, as the agency learns more about the epidemiology of COVID-19. The update from September 10th is based on data received by the CDC through August 8.