Two Native Orgs doing their part by providing Covid-19 tests to Tribal Nations

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By Hannah Broadbent

As of June 28th, 30.4. million Covid-19 tests have been given across the country. Labs all over the U.S. are backlogged trying to get results to worried citizens as soon as possible, some test results have same-day turn around times, while most test results can take up to a week.

The Indigenous community is disproportionately affected by Covid-19 due to the limited access to testing. Many reservations implemented checkpoints in March and still have the checkpoints today. Checkpoints, Tribal task forces and other community organizing are just a few ways tribes have been working to slow the effect of Covid-19.

Now, two national Indigenous organizations, Tribal Diagnostics and Indigenous PACT are doing their part by providing more Covid-19 tests to Tribal Nations. Together they create a complete testing system.

Tribal Diagnostics provides full-service tests, the swab test and antibody tests. Indigenous PACT offers community deployment strategy, including contact tracing and monitoring, billing guidance and processing.

Here is the quick guide to the Covid-19 testing that they are offering.

SWAB TESTS:

  • Swab tests or taken from your respiratory system which is why oral or nasal are necessary.
  • A swab test indicated Covid-19 virus is present and there is an active infection.
  • This test should only be used if someone currently has symptoms or has been exposed to Covid-19.
  • The test is administered by Nasal swab, Oral swab or Saliva collection kit.
  • The test takes place at hospital or health-care provider or safe testing site.
  • The results are usually available 48-72 hours after receiving the sample.
  • ANTIBODY: Antibodies are proteins that help fight off infection. Antibodies are disease specific and will be present if you have had Covid-19

ANTIBODY TESTS:

  • An antibody test shows the person had the virus at some point in the past. It may be gone or the person may still be contagious.
  • The person does not have symptoms but may have had Covid-19. An antibody test should not be used for diagnosis.
  • This test is administered by blood draw.
  • This test takes place at hospital or health-care provider or safe testing site.
  • The results are usually available 24-48 hours after receiving the sample.

The CARES Act requires that COVID-19 testing is covered without cost-sharing. This applies to all health insurance coverage in Minnesota. It is important to know that this applies to the test only, office visits are not covered through the CARES Act.

In Minneapolis and St. Paul, residents can contact the Indian Health Board and the Native American Community Clinic who are taking appointments for testing. Call IHB at 612-721-9800 for more information and appointments or NACC at 612-872-8086.

For more information on testing sites see:
https://mn.gov/covid19/for-minnesotans/if-sick/testing-locations/index.jsp

Minneapolis Indian Health Board
https://www.indianhealthboard.com

Native American Community Clinic
https://nacc-healthcare.org

MN Department of Health testing guidance
https://www.health.state.mn.us/diseases/coronavirus/hcp/eval.html