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Washington tribe traces outbreak to kids playing

The Lummi Nation health department announces 16 new cases

SEATTLE (AP) — A tribe in Washington state has seen a spate of new coronavirus infections that health officials traced to children playing together. 

Sixteen new cases were announced between Wednesday and Friday by the Lummi Nation health department — the tribe's first new infections in weeks.

Tribal officials said it was apparent from the outbreak that families and children were not following orders to limit their interactions and practice social distancing.

The Lummi Indian Business Council extended its stay-at-home order through May 31 and added a curfew from 10 p.m. to 4 a.m. for residents of the reservation about 90 miles north of Seattle.

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After several weeks without new cases, people had become complacent, said Dr. Dakotah Lane, the Lummi Nation's health director, told The Seattle Times. Lane said the outbreak was traced to some kids playing together, but it couldn't be determined where the initial infection came from.

"You feel things are going well, and then, boom, this happens," Lane said.

The Lummi were among the first to enact a strict stay-home order, on March 22, to slow the virus's spread. The tribe also took early steps to obtain testing supplies and educate its roughly 5,300 members about keeping apart.