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With only 6 active Covid cases, Oneida Nation vaccinates over half of its community; testing numbers down

Posted at 6:46 PM, Feb 19, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-19 20:28:45-05

ONEIDA, Wis. (NBC 26) -- The coronavirus knows no bounds.

Whether it's a big city or a small town, Covid has been there.

One local tribe is no exception.

"Everybody in the Oneida community has been affected by the Covid virus," Oneida Nation member Bobbi Webster said.

After experiencing over 50 positive cases one day in November, Oneida Nation health officials say numbers are improving within the community with only six active cases. But Comprehensive Health Operations Director Debra Danforth believes it's not time to celebrate just yet; testing is way down.

"We are continuing to see a decline in terms of the [case] numbers, but it's hard to say if that's a good situation basically because we're seeing a decline in the testing as well," Danforth said.

Nearly 3,500 members live within reservation boundaries. In the past year, Danforth says there have been 760 total cases and nine deaths. One person who passed away was in their late 30s.

"Particularly around the time when the holidays were here, there was a lot of large group gatherings," Danforth said. "People were kind of tired of wearing masks and tired of Covid itself."

But Danforth says almost 1,900 members within the reservation have been vaccinated with at least the first dose.

Today, she believes there's a light at the end of the tunnel.

"We're gonna get through this and we're gonna come out on the other end and be much stronger as a community," Danforth said. "Because it has brought many of us closer together."

The Oneida Nation Comprehensive Health Division reports four vaccine doses have gone unused.