Oklahoma’s Choctaw Nation announced on Friday that it will reimpose a mask mandate for visitors at tribal health facilities.
“Due to the increasing number of positive COVID-19 cases in Southeastern Oklahoma, it has become necessary to reinstate some of the previous visitor restrictions to ensure the safety of our patients and staff,” The Choctaw Nation Health Services Authority said on Facebook.
“Everyone must wear a mask at all times while at a CNHSA facility” the post read.
The announcement includes guidelines surrounding visitors based on the kinds of patients at the hospital. Patients who go to the hospital for child delivery will be allowed two visitors, and these visitors will be tested for COVID-19, and are not allowed to go in and out of the facility frequently.
Those in need of the emergency room will only be allowed one parents or assistive person if needed. Women’s health patients may have significant others with them for “certain events,” the post states.
The news from the tribal nation comes amid a surge of coronavirus cases throughout the United States, specifically in unvaccinated counties due to the highly contagious delta variant.
Oklahoma in particular has lagged behind other states in vaccination rates — only about 50 percent of adults in the state have been fully vaccinated, according to New York Times data.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Rochelle WalenskyRochelle WalenskyFormer surgeon general says CDC guidance on masks ‘premature’ and ‘wrong’ LA County sheriff says reinstated mask mandate ‘not backed by science’ Oklahoma’s Choctaw Nation reimposes mask mandate for visitors at tribal health facilities MORE warned on Friday that the coronavirus outbreak was becoming “a pandemic of the unvaccinated” and continued to urge people to get the shots.
Los Angeles County reimplemented its indoor mask mandate for vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals due to the spike in cases.
Oklahoma has had a total of more than 460,000 reported coronavirus cases and more than 7,000 deaths.