Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians declares state of public health emergency

Published 9:16 am Friday, May 22, 2020

(AP) — Amid growing concerns about the rise in COVID-19 cases, The Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians on Thursday declared a state of public health emergency.
The Tribe reported 373 positive cases of COVID-19 as of midnight Wednesday, with 168 cases in the Pearl River Community.
The order, signed by Tribal Chief Cyrus Ben, is “in response to an occurrence or imminent threat of an illness or health condition that is believed to be caused by an Infectious and/or Communicable Disease and poses a high probability of widespread illness or a large number of deaths or serious or long-term disability among persons.”
The order further states:
“The aforesaid conditions of public health are expected to worsen due to the person to-person transmission throughout Mississippi and MBCI’s tribal lands. Said conditions will significantly impact the life and health of tribal members as well as economy of the Tribe and warrant and necessitate a proclamation of a State of Public Health Emergency in order to provide for the health and safety of the tribal citizens, employees and visitors.”
“The Chief Medical Officer of the Choctaw Health Center is authorized to issue orders for individuals to voluntarily isolate or quarantine and to seek Tribal Court enforcement in cases of noncompliance,” the order states.
State officials confirmed 255 new cases of COVID-19 in Mississippi Thursday, for a total of 12,222 and 10 additional deaths, for a total of 580 deaths statewide.

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