Cherokee Nation takes additional steps amid coronavirus threat
TAHLEQUAH — The Cherokee Nation on March 17 rolled out new medical-related protocols, announced limited access into the Tribal Complex and asked employees 65 and older to work from home.
Based on federal-level recommendations, certain routine medical appointments are being rescheduled, according to Cherokee Nation Health Services.
“Cherokee Nation is actively working to strengthen our operational efforts to mitigate the risk of COVID-19 in our communities,” a news release stated. “Following recommendations and safety protocols set out by the (Centers for Disease Control) and U.S. Public Health Service, starting Monday, March 23, all non-emergency appointments for optometry (including services at Northeastern State University), dental, audiology, radiology, physical therapy and elective surgery will be rescheduled to a later date.”
Pharmacy prescriptions will be extended from 30 to 90 days, where appropriate and as determined by the medical provider, according to the CN.
“We encourage all of our patients to utilize our pharmacy convenience options such as drive-through, online refills, phone ordering and mail delivery to avoid unnecessary visits to the health centers,” the news release stated. “Cherokee Nation citizens who have questions about their upcoming appointment should contact their Cherokee Nation health center.”
A full list of health center phone numbers is available at health.chereokee.org/contact-us. The Cherokee Nation also has established a coronavirus call center at 833-528-0063, available from noon-8 p.m. Monday through Friday.
At the Tribal Complex in Tahlequah, visitors will now have access only to the front entrance.
“Complex employees should enter at the back entrance by the mailroom or back entrance by education,” a release from the CN communications department states. “More precautionary steps are forthcoming. We are diligently working to get essential services squared away for our public and citizens that need them, and do it in a way that keeps our workforce safe.”
“To limit exposure to those at highest risk,” tribal administration is asking non-essential employees 65 and over not to report to work locations through March 27. The decision is based on federal recommendations and medical leadership, according to a letter to employees.
“If those employees cannot work from home they are able to use administrative leave,” the letter states. “Essential staff, including medical personnel, may be reassigned to work from home or alternate work locations that minimize exposure and risk.”