Nebraska's Winnebago Reservation Feeling Effects of COVID-19

May 28, 2020, 1:07 p.m. ·


Out of roughly 2600 people living on the Winnebago Reservation in northeast Nebraska, 19 tribal members have tested positive for COVID-19 so far. Winnebago Public Health Director Mona Zuffante said tribal members have been scaling down their typically large social gatherings as a safety measure.

“I think an outsider looking in might see that we’re still congregating and having big to-do’s especially with our funerals,” Zuffante said. “But really they are half of what they normally would have been.”

Zuffante said tribal members are at a greater risk for getting the virus because American Indians typically have higher mortality rates than the rest of the country because of increased health issues. It’s also common for multiple generations to live together, which can increase the risk of transmitting COVID-19. To decrease health risks, tribal members are required to wear masks in public.