The organization representing both tribes on the Wind River Indian Reservation has urged all tribal members to shelter in place to stop the spread of the novel coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic, according to a news release.

"After careful deliberation, and in consultation with healthcare authorities and our local, state and federal partners, The Wind River Inter-Tribal Council -- comprised of the Eastern Shoshone and Northern Arapaho business councils -- advises all Tribal Members to self-isolate by remaining at home at this time," the Inter-Tribal Council said.

The council urged tribal members to leave home only for emergencies such as seeking medical care or buying essential goods and services.

Likewise, it asked tribal members to refrain from outside gatherings of 10 or more people.

The tribes already have closed schools, canceled events, closed or canceled nonessential tribal offices, eliminated nonessential travel by tribal employees, and enacted other restrictions that have affected members.

But not doing anything is worse.

"We must do everything we can to stop the spread of this illness and to protect our elders, children and fellow Wind River residents," the Inter-Tribal Council wrote. "Lives are at stake."

On the other hand, individuals can do their part to break the chain of virus transmission by the simple act of staying at home.

"This will help prevent Tribal and regional healthcare facilities from becoming overwhelmed with patients requiring attention," the Inter-Tribal Council wrote.

Stopping the spread of the disease is a monumental task, but something that can be done together, it added.

For more information, contact the Eastern Shoshone and Northern Arapaho business councils.

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