The Yakama Nation is reverting back to Phase 2 of its COVID-19 reopening plan because of rising infections and limited hospital capacity in Yakima County.
A news release from the Yakama Nation on Friday said all Yakama reservation residents, whether Native American or not, should limit gatherings with people outside their household to 10 people a week. Travel outside the reservation should be limited to essential travel only.
Longhouses and churches are strongly encouraged to delay spiritual gatherings except for funerals that follow specified guidance, the release said.
“All Yakama reservation residents should continue to wear masks, socially distance, wash your hands, and are highly encouraged to get vaccinated against COVID-19,” the news release said.
A Sept. 11 event to honor veterans on Saturday morning was postponed in light of the new restrictions. The event was scheduled at the Yakama Veterans Building in Toppenish, but delayed because of the restriction on large gatherings.
The Yakama Nation government offices closed to the public on Friday. Essential government employees will be on site for meetings by appointment from 8 a.m. to noon only on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. The partial closure will remain in effect until Sept. 24. Yakama Nation public health and safety workers will continue to work full time at their regular duty stations during this partial closure, the release said.
As of Thursday, the Yakama Nation reported 82 active COVID cases and six people hospitalized.
Countywide, there were 61 people hospitalized and 260 new cases Friday, the Yakima Health District reported. The case rate per 100,000 was 1,031 over the past two weeks, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention rates community transmission in the county as high.