By WCCO-TV Staff

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — The Minnesota Department of Human Services announced that home health care tools are being sent to Native American elders to help keep them safe during the COVID-19 pandemic.

On Tuesday, the DHS said blood pressure monitors, pulse oximeters and other technology that supports telehealth and behavioral health visits are currently on their way to native elders in communities around Minnesota.

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Following a grant contract with the DHS, the Native American Community Clinic in south Minneapolis and the Northwest Indian Community Development Center in Bemidji are distributing the infection prevention tools.

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“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.”

Using federal aid from the Coronavirus relief Fund, more than $500,000 will be used to provide equipment and technology for the at-risk native elders.

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Data shows that the native population has been disproportionately impacted by COVID-19 infections and deaths during the pandemic.