ALLEGANY TERRITORY, SALAMANCA, N.Y. – The Seneca Nation announced that a non-Seneca employee of the Seneca Nation Health System has tested positive for the COVID-19 virus.
The individual is a resident of Erie County who had limited patient contact at the Health System and last reported to work on Thursday, March 12. The employee showed no symptoms at that time, but began to feel ill later that evening. The individual has not returned to Seneca territory since that time. No other workers at the Health System have shown any symptoms to date.
“Last night, we were notified that an employee of our Health System has been diagnosed with a confirmed case of COVID-19,” said Seneca Nation President Rickey Armstrong, Sr. “That individual showed excellent judgment in remaining away from the Health System and away from Seneca territory upon feeling ill, and our thoughts are with them. We will work cooperatively with Erie County health officials to provide any information we can, in order to assist all necessary response and notification measures.”
As of today, the Nation has closed the Allegany Health Center, the Cattaraugus Health Center, and the Cattaraugus Wellness Center, and will conduct deep cleaning procedures at each facility. Workers entering the buildings will continue to be temperature screened, as all visitors have been for the past several days. The Nation will seek guidance of health officials pertaining to the re-opening of the Health System facilities. Individuals in need of services should call their primary care provider.
In keeping with the Nation’s Comprehensive Emergency Management Plan, which the Nation has implemented over the past several days, President Armstrong has officially issued a State of Emergency on Seneca Nation Territories. The order will allow the Nation to access additional federal funding sources to aid in its response efforts.
“Protecting the health and welfare of our people, especially our elders and our vulnerable populations, remains our highest priority,” President Armstrong said. “A task force of professionals from across Seneca Nation government continues working tirelessly to implement wide-ranging prevention and response efforts on our territories. Together, we will continue to aggressively monitor the situation on our territories and within our surrounding communities to take every responsible precaution to safeguard the Seneca people.”
In addition to the measures announced today, President Armstrong has previously instituted travel restrictions for all Nation officials and employees, issued work-from-home and stand-by leave orders for Nation employees, adjusted the delivery of many on-territory services, canceled public activities, closed Nation facilities, and restricted outside visitation to the Nation’s territories.
“I have said before that this unprecedented situation requires an unprecedented response, and that’s what we are seeing,” President Armstrong added. “The Seneca people can rest assured that every thoughtful decision is being made with our community in mind. We will get through this together.”
The Seneca Nation is responsible for the health, safety, and well-being of our members, residents, and employees and is taking precautions to reduce impact of COVID-19 on our community. By Executive Order, all Seneca Nation sponsored events are canceled until further notice.
ALLEGANY TERRITORY, SALAMANCA, N.Y. – In the ongoing response to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic locally, statewide and across the country, the Seneca Nation Council, in consultation with the Seneca Gaming Corporation and Seneca Gaming & Entertainment, has decided to suspend operations at all of the Nation’s gaming facilities, effective at 8 p.m. today. The directive applies to the Nation’s three casino resort properties in Niagara Falls, Salamanca, and Buffalo, as well as the Seneca Gaming & Entertainment operations in Irving, Salamanca, and Cuba.
“The COVID-19 outbreak is an unprecedented public safety situation that requires an unprecedented response,” said Seneca Nation President Rickey Armstrong, Sr. “Given the number of people who visit and work at our facilities, I believe it is in the best interest to suspend our gaming operations until further notice. We are keeping the health and safety of our workers, our guests and our communities above all else.”
In addition to the temporary suspension of its gaming operations, President Armstrong announced various temporary closures of on-territory facilities and changes to identified services, effective immediately. Essential services, such as the elders’ meal program, health services and emergency services will continue, but may be adjusted to reduce unnecessary contact.
“Our sole focus, as a Nation, is to do everything practicable to ensure the health and safety of every Seneca Nation member to the best of our ability,” said President Armstrong said. “We will do whatever possible and responsible to ensure that our people, particularly our elders, continue to receive the services they need. That is our commitment. The measures going into effect today, while significant, are, in our determination, necessary and appropriate to safeguard the health and welfare of our people and our territories with as little disruption to our people, including our Nation employees, and the quality of life on our territories as we can control.”
“As a unified Seneca community, it is incumbent upon each of us to adjust to the ongoing COVID-19 situation and to do everything we can to keep ourselves, our families and our territories safe while the full public response to this situation plays out,” President Armstrong added. “As we continue to work together, I am confident that the Seneca Nation, our people, and our territories will withstand this unprecedented public health event as strongly and effectively as possible.”