Leaders of the Oglala Sioux Tribe have ordered an emergency 72-hour lockdown of their Pine Ridge Indian Reservation after two residents tested positive for the coronavirus. The lockdown will require all residents to hunker down in their homes, shutter all businesses, and ban anyone from leaving or entering the reservation. Anyone who violates the order will be fined $1,000 and also faces arrest, as well as jail time. The move is aimed to allow tracers to investigate who might have been exposed to the virus and prevent further spread among the tribe members. “It’s really scary for us as the task force to have to announce this, but we do have to verify what’s already being published on social media—that our reservation does have two confirmed cases, positive cases,” said Karin Eagle, a spokeswoman for the tribe.
The news of the lockdown prompted dozens of tribal volunteers to flee the state and federal highway checkpoints leading into the reservation. The volunteers arrived at the checkpoints on Sunday in an effort to prevent the spread of the coronavirus among tribe members after South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem threatened “legal action” unless they agreed to stand down.