From there, the cases began to snowball.
Access to testing, ever-evolving guidance from the C.D.C. on dealing with the virus, and shortages of workers and supplies were early obstacles the tribal
“With the initial surge, people were frightened. They didn’t know what to expect,” said Dr. Kerry Scott, interim chief medical officer at the Choctaw Health Center. “There were a high amount of our patients who were presenting with severe symptoms so the mortality rate was a little bit higher than what we were expecting.”
Among those deaths were Nyron and Veronica Thomas. Their son, Bryce Thomas, had to bury his parents a few weeks before graduating from high school.
“Bryce Thomas should be celebrating his recent graduation from Neshoba Central High School with his parents,” a family friend wrote on a GoFundMe page to raise money for the teenager. “Instead he is having to bury both of his parents due to the coronavirus.”
In July, Mr. Ben, the Choctaw tribal chief, issued an executive order mandating that everyone 2 years and older wear a mask. That same month, the Neshoba County Fair and the Choctaw Indian Fair, both of which are big tourist attractions, were canceled.
After more than 60 Choctaw deaths in the early months of the summer, the numbers appeared to stabilize. One tribal member died in August and another in September.
So far this month, though, two members have died after contracting the virus, leaving residents rattled and bracing for a second wave.