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Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribe battling pandemic with unique concerns

Published: Feb. 28, 2021 at 10:16 PM PST
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NIXON, Nev. (KOLO) - Almost a year into the Coronavirus pandemic in Northern Nevada, communities are still battling.

But some areas face unique circumstances. The Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribe is just one population that has been hit hard.

“We’ve been in a shutdown just as a lot of other governments have,” said tribal chairwoman, Janet Davis. “We are trying to get people off of furloughs.”

Davis took office in early January and has been trying to find solutions ever since.

“It’s been a challenge because due to funding (shortages) we don’t have all of our staff back.”

Without officials in the tribal center in Nixon all progress on slowing the pandemic is inherently slowed. One of the items on Davis’s to-do list is getting her people healthy - as The Paiute Tribe has a lot of multi-generational homes.

“If someone in the household gets sick, then everyone in the household can get sick,” Davis said. “That’s something we have to be careful of as well.”

Davis says she has been trying to hold as many vaccine events as possible at Nixon’s Tribal Health Clinic. The center recently received 380 doses of the COVID vaccine, but the tribe needs more.

“Due to the weather, we only got a small amount of doses than we intended to get,” Davis said about delayed vaccine shipments.

Another issue facing those in Pyramid Lake is education. Davis says students at Pyramid Lake High School are learning remotely. Others who bus to Fernley or Sparks for school also need to learn from home, which sounds straightforward, except for one issue:

“We don’t have access to broadband (internet) here so that is a challenge to all of our students,,” said Davis.

Working to get grants for internet access is also on Davis’s agenda.

Out on the lake, fishing season is back up and running. But there was a period of time when the lake had to close, forcing the Paiute Tribe to take a big economic hit.

Davis admits all she can do is take things day-by-day, and try to bring a sense of normalcy back to her community.

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