Jan 12, 2021 | By: Destiny Wiggins

COVID-19 Health Care Tools Being Distributed to Indigenous Communities in Bemidji

The Minnesota Department of Human Services has announced that the Northwest Indian Community Development Center in Bemidji is distributing COVID-19 infection prevention tools to help Indigenous communities stay healthy in the comfort of their own home.

The Native American Community Clinic in Minneapolis and the Northwest Indian Community Development Center are distributing these infection prevention tools, including blood pressure monitors and pulse oximeters, through a grant contract with the Minnesota Department of Human Services. Federal aid from the Coronavirus Relief Fund will pay for these efforts.

“Simple equipment can help people stay healthy at home, save lives and make a real difference,” said Human Services Commissioner Jodi Harpstead. “This a smart, targeted approach to support Indigenous communities in Minnesota.”

Data shows that American Indians have been disproportionately impacted by COVID-19 infections and fatalities during the pandemic. They have the highest percentages hospitalized (16%), admitted to the ICU (6%), and deaths (4%) due to COVID-19 compared to other racial and ethnic communities.

More than $500,000 will be used to provide equipment and technology to help at-risk American Indians access primary care and supportive services that keep them safe at home. State and federal health agencies advise adults at greatest risk of severe illness due to COVID-19 to stay safe at home until they can be vaccinated.

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