Feature President

A message from President Matthew B. Pagels

Nya:wëh sgë:nö’ gagwe:goh (I’m thankful you are all well),

As we start off 2022, we continue to be caught up in the middle of a pandemic. As we gathered for the holidays the Omicron strain of the COVID-19 virus has been gaining momentum infecting thousands of people a day throughout the country. This trend is also evident within our communities here in Allegany and Cattaraugus.

In the first week of January we’ve had 238 COVID-19 cases in our communities. These are being recorded both through our health facilities and CTS testing sights. Our overall positivity rate is near 15%. In comparison, last year the surrounding counties we considered red zones if their daily positivity rate higher than 5%. We are currently three times higher with this new variant.

Our alarming numbers indicate just how contagious the Omicron variant is. One of the most effective method to combat the spread and to lower the degree of symptoms is to get vaccinated. The vaccination clinic continues to schedule appointments at 716-532-5582 Cattaraugus and 716-945-5894 Allegany Health Centers. You may also schedule online at SenecaHealth.org/vaccine.

To strengthen our detection efforts we continue to offer and expand testing on territory. Both Allegany and Cattaraugus testing sites have changed to new locations but continue seven days a week from 3pm – 7pm (Allegany). CTS testing in Allegany is at the ACC, located at 3677 Administration Dr back parking lot. Blue Stone testing daily option from 4pm – 7 pm for elders and enrolled members is located at the Allegany DPW building. Photo ID is required and access to an email and/or electronic device is required for the PCR test.

In Cattaraugus, the daily CTS testing is available starting at 1pm-7pm at the Seneca Fire station 2. This is located off of Route 5 behind the Gil Lay Arena. This testing site is available for everyone. Appointments and insurance are not required for CTS.

In addition, to testing sites we have held two drive through at home test kit giveaways for enrolled members. We will continue offer kits as we are able to replenish the supply.

Lastly, we encourage everyone to limit their large group gatherings and continue to follow Covid-19 protocols. With the Omicron variant so contagious mask mandates are important to follow.

A few changes within the Nation to combat the virus are: mandated weekly testing for employees who are not vaccinated, employees and consultants who perform work at the Nation must provide proof of COVID-19 vaccination, we have also restricted large group gatherings within our Departments including activities at the ACC and CCC. Access to Nation facilities will also be restricted requiring appointments only.

We must all continue to do our part in protecting our Nation and one another. You can monitor the COVID-19 situation on our website and social media channels for important updates. We continue to keep our lines of communication open to our community and are open to suggestions on getting the message out to those without social media options.

Have a Happy New Year and please stay safe, and stay strong!

Dah ne’hoh din ae’