CHIEF'S MESSAGE updated 7/21/21
Dear Tribal Citizen,
I hope this letter finds you and your families well. I am writing to update you on issues related to the pandemic. Currently the number of daily covid-19 cases in our region and in the entire state are relatively stable. However, the emergence of the Delta variant all across the country is concerning. The Delta variant is far more contagious than other strains of covid and has become the dominant cause of new cases. There is increased concern for young, unvaccinated people, who are being hospitalized at alarming rates. We will continue to monitor this development and act accordingly to try to reduce the impact within our community.
Currently, the Penobscot Nation vaccination level is around 30% (which lags far behind the state and national averages). It is our firm belief that people getting vaccinated is the key to overcoming the pandemic and getting us back to some sense of normalcy sooner rather than later. Most experts expect another surge of covid cases this fall fueled primarily by the Delta variant. The best protection for our community is for everyone possible to get vaccinated. We continue to offer vaccinations to anyone who wants them. Also, the Health Department has a lot of information on available vaccinations and are happy to discuss any questions or concerns that you may have, please contact them so that you can be as informed as possible.
With respect to the checkpoint, leadership has discussed this situation and considered input from the community. Recently, we conducted a poll asking the community for its views, and the results indicate overwhelmingly that you believe the checkpoint has served its purpose and is no longer necessary or effective. Public Safety is working now on phasing out the checkpoint activities, and it will no longer be staffed after August 5th. In the meantime, we have advised staff there to monitor traffic but not to restrict access. We will continue to have a monitoring device at the entrance to the community for public safety purposes.
Since this pandemic began, we have been focused first and foremost on your health and well-being. While we are all hopeful that we can continue to progress with our re-opening, we must also continue to monitor new developments and remain prepared to quickly adjust as necessary to protect our community.
Tribal leadership understands how difficult this pandemic has been for everyone, and during this time of recovery we are continuing to provide relief and support recognizing there are still many people that need help. In closing, we will be scheduling a virtual town hall very soon to discuss these programs, our plans for community activities and provide updates on current legal and legislative matters.
Thank you all again for your understanding, help and engagement throughout this difficult time, and it is my sincere hope that you and your families are having a great summer.
Kirk E. Francis, Chief