WahZhaZhe Health Clinic reports 41 additional cases from Jan. 12 testing event

Osage News File Photo. CODY HAMMER/Osage News

Covid is on the rise dramatically among Native Americans and undoubtedly others in Osage County.

After racking up 57 positive cases among Osage Nation employees on Monday and Tuesday, the WahZhaZhe Health Clinic returned to testing its regular patients – and a smattering of employees – at a drive-through clinic on Wednesday.

The results were not happy: 41 of 134 people tested had active Covid infections, according to the Nation’s Communications Director, Abigail Mashunkashey. Seven of the 41 were employees, bringing the total number of infections in the workforce to 64 of about 500 employees.

Under current CDC guidelines, those people should isolate themselves from other people for five days. If their symptoms are improving and they have no fever in the final 24 hours, they can emerge from isolation but should wear a high-quality mask when around others for five more days.

If they expose anyone who is unvaccinated or more than six months out from their second jab (or two months from the Johnson & Johnson vaccine), the people exposed should also quarantine for five days followed by five days of strict mask-wearing, according to the CDC.

Folks who have received a vaccination booster shot are not told to quarantine but should mask up for 10 full days after exposure. The federal agency recommends that everyone who is exposed to Covid get tested for the virus at Day 5 after exposure.

Stateside, 5,507 cases of Covid were reported Wednesday, and 1,288 people were hospitalized with the virus; of those, 297 were in intensive care units.

“The Omicron variant is spreading quickly and has the potential to impact all facets of our society,” CDC director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said when announcing the foreshortened isolation and quarantine guidelines in late December. “Prevention is our best option: get vaccinated, get boosted, wear a mask in public indoor settings in areas of substantial and high community transmission, and take a test before you gather.”