Employee at Lucky Star Casino tests positive for COVID-19

Concho location to remain open

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People line up for the reopening of Lucky Star Casino in Concho on Friday, May 15. (Photo by Aubrey Patton)

An employee at Lucky Star Casino in Concho has tested positive for COVID-19, according to casino officials.

The casino in Concho, however, will remain open.

Casino officials learned on Sunday, May 17, two days after reopening, that an employee tested positive for COVID-19.

Charlie Welbourne, Lucky Star Casino CEO, released the following statement:

We were notified that an employee from our Concho location tested positive for the coronavirus.  In accordance with CDC guidelines, the employee was taken off the schedule for self-quarantine, work areas were professionally bio-cleaned and sanitized with an EPA “List N” product.

 After consulting with local medical experts and based on the CDC guidelines it was determined that it was safe to continue operations. 

Lucky Star Casino’s “Play It Safe” policies exceed the recommendations of the CDC regarding the containment and mitigation of COVID-19 and these strategies are re-evaluated and updated in real time as new information becomes available for our communities.”

A Facebook post from the casino reads: “The testing most recently allowed us to identify an asymptomatic COVID patient who worked at our Concho location. Without our diligence transparency, this patient might have never been identified and could still be on the casino floor working.”

Other Lucky Star Casino locations are in Watonga, Hammon, Canton and Clinton.

The casino employees and patrons are now required to wear masks at the casino.

The casino also reported the following on Facebook:

In strict accordance with CDC guidelines the employee immediately left the premises for self-quarantine, and we professionally bio-cleaned and sanitized with an EPA “List N” product. After this, an epidemiological risk assessment, performed in conjunction with the Clinical Director of the Clinton Indian Hospital, a Research Specialist at OU Health Sciences Center, and the Cheyenne & Arapaho Director of Health, determined our venue could operate safely.”

The employee has been quarantined. Video surveillance shows the employee wore a mask while at the casino, a Lucky Star spokeswoman reported.

Cheyenne & Arapaho Gov. Reggie Wassana announced that the tribe’s casinos reopened May 15.

Wassana reported that precautions were being taken before the opening on May 15.

The Lucky Star Casinos will follow guidelines and standards that other casinos use across the country to protect patrons and employees. Significant social distancing efforts will include but not limited to, reduced and distanced seating at all restaurants and every other gaming machine will be powered off to ensure physical distance between patrons. Plexiglas barriers may be installed in key locations across the different casino properties. Face masks or face coverings will be highly encouraged for everyone on the casino property and will be available for all patrons,” Wassana reported.

Casino hours of operations were adjusted from weekend to weekdays until data supports casinos being opened 24 hours a day. Ongoing enhanced cleaning measures will be implemented for deep cleaning. Also, the casinos will be working with Indian Health Service to screen all employees returning to work, Wassana reported.

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The health and safety of our community and employees is always our highest priority and through this pandemic, we have relied on facts from the CDC and health experts to guide our decisions,” said Gov. Reggie Wassana.

In a Facebook post from the Lucky Star Casino, the number of employees tested was released.

We tested 890 Lucky Star Casino and Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribes employees to ensure we re-open our casinos as safely as possible. This measure, coupled with our “Play It Safe” program, exceeds CDC recommendations and goes well beyond what many supermarkets, hardware stores, and other large businesses have done to flatten the curve.”

“Lucky Star Casino is doing everything within our power to promote the health and prosperity of our guests, employees, and tribal members, despite the enormous toll this virus has taken. In doing so we accept this challenge of walking the fine line between protecting our community’s health and making the provisions that allow our people to do things such as feed their families and keep their homes,” the post reads.