Tests were administered to Taos Pueblo tribal members for the COVID-19 coronavirus Tuesday (May 12) at Taos Pueblo.
The pre-scheduled testing came a day after the state confirmed a Taos Pueblo tribal member was confirmed positive with the virus prior to May 11. It was unknown whether the person was living on or off pueblo land when they contracted the virus. Taos Pueblo Gov. Edwin Concha was not immediately available for comment.
Tribal members were alerted to the planned test day in early May. The tests were coordinated by Taos Pueblo tribal leadership, the tribe’s Emergency Management Team and the state’s Department of Health. Tribal members were asked to drive to The Taos Mountain Casino and wait in line for the tests which were administered in a drive-through method commonly in practice in other areas since the pandemic shut down began in April. Testing was voluntary.
Asked if the Taos Pueblo-Emergency Management Team will be issuing a public statement on the results of the testing, a reply from tribal leadership stated, "We do not anticipate issuing any public statements regarding the results of the testing at this time.”
Additionally, tribal officials were asked, if a case is identified, what measures will take place to protect the individuals, their families and the pueblo at large. The statement in reply reads, "Taos Pueblo, in collaboration with the State Department of Health, the Albuquerque Area Southwest Tribal Epidemiology Center (AASTEC), and Indian Health Services, are following the guidelines regarding isolating and quarantining positive cases and any individuals with whom they have had close contact. The TPEMT has established and trained a Close Contact Monitoring team under the direction of our Public Health Nurse, and in partnership with AASTEC, the team will provide close contact monitoring.”
The state Department of Health confirmed Thursday (May 14) that a Taos Pueblo tribal member had been confirmed positive with COVID-19 prior to the testing. The case was listed among the 22 positive cases for Taos County in a May 11 update.
A story by the online investigative newssite New Mexico In Depth posted Wednesday (May 13) detailed the number of positive cases among almost all tribes and pueblos in New Mexico based on data provided by the state. Most of those cases have been among tribal members from the Navajo Nation, San Felipe Pueblo and Zia Pueblo.
Taos Pueblo has closed its borders to all non-tribal members on a 24-hour a day basis until further notice. Additional information is available at the tribe's website, emergencymanagement.taospueblo.org or on Facebook.
Taos News editor Staci Matlock contributed to this report.