AIPI COVID-19 Update March 24, 2020
AIPI COVID-19 News Roundup
The Navajo Nation Council has authorized $4 million in emergency funding to cover costs associated with the COVID-19 response on the reservation. The tribe had 26 confirmed cases of COVID-19 as of this weekend. That number has continued to rise, up to 29 confirmed cases at the time of publication. The money will go to the Navajo Department of Health to help fight the spread of the COVID-19 virus and to deliver essential resources and equipment to health care experts and emergency response workers. In a request sent to the New Mexico Department of Health, the Nation named 16 items, including assorted N95 masks and disinfecting wipes, that are low in supply or unavailable at the supply service center. IHS has directed the Navajo Nation to also order items from the Arizona Department of Health Services in connection with the Strategic National Stockpile.
The Oregon Health Authority (OHA) and other officials announced details about $4 million in state funding that is going out to Local Public Health Authorities (LPHA), Tribes, and the Native American Rehabilitation Association (NARA – the Urban Indian Health Program in Oregon) to support their COVID-19 response. NARA and eight of the state’s nine federally-recognized Tribes will receive $35,500. The Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation and their Yellowhawk Tribal Health Center will receive $40,500. Funding amounts are based on a funding formula as well as COVID-19 cases and investigative work as of March 10, 2020. “Honoring our government to government relationship is important in our coordinated response to COVID-19,” said Julie Johnson, OHA Director of Tribal Affairs. “We are appreciative of this funding to provide support at the local level.”
After two weeks of complaints from tribal leaders and protests from key lawmakers, the Trump administration finally announced plans to distribute much-needed funding to Indian Country as the number of coronavirus cases continues to grow. The Department of Health and Human Services on Friday said it would provide a total of $80 million to tribes, urban Indians and Alaska Natives. The agreement includes tribes and organizations in nearly every corner of Indian Country -- except the Great Plains and the tribes along the border near Tucson, Arizona. The Trump administration rejected calls to have the IHS distribute the funds. Instead, the CDC is in charge of the first influx of coronavirus funding to tribes and their communities. Importantly, NCAI CEO Kevin Allis noted that the ‘Phase III’ coronavirus package proposed by Congress late last week “has completely ignored and does not include Indian Country."
Other online resources available
Indian Country Today’s COVID-19 Syllabus for the latest updates on the virus