UPDATE: Elbowoods Memorial receives supplies from the state

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UPDATE: The administrator for the North Dakota Indian Affairs Commission tells Your News Leader that the Elbowoods Memorial Health Center received supplies from the state of North Dakota.

Bradley Hawk says the center ordered supplies roughly two weeks from the ND HAN ASSETs with the Department of Health.

Hawk says the MHA Nation has been using the supplies and will be requesting additional supplies, and Indian Affairs will be assisting.


ORIGINAL STORY: As the number of positive cases of coronavirus in the state continues to rise, the MHA Nation says they need access to testing kits and medical supplies.

Your News Leader spoke with MHA Chairman Mark Fox about the current protocols for testing.

He also said there is no hospital on the reservation, so the tribe would need some sort of medical facility and hospital beds.

Leadership with the MHA nation says the tribe is nervous about the spread of COVID-19.

"Our membership is extremely vulnerable to this virus because we suffer a lot of what they call underlying medical conditions: diabetes, hypertension, cardiovascular disease, cancer," Fox said.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, people of any age who have serious underlying medical conditions might be at higher risk for severe illness from COVID-19.

"If this thing hurts us the way it has in other areas of the world in other areas of the country, we have a need to do an extreme amount of testing, we're not going to have that capability unless we get those kits, we get authorization to do testing, whatever it takes," Fox said.

Fox also said there is a severe lack of medical supplies.

“We need medical equipment. We need more staff here. We need more nurses. We need all these different things. So, it's making sure basically that our tribe like the rest of Indian Country, is not being left out of things," Fox told Your News Leader.

Fox said he has reached out to both Gov. Doug Burgum and Sen. Kevin Cramer, R-N.D., to make sure that the swabs that they submit to the state Health Department are returned in a timely manner, and they benefit the same as any other North Dakota city from any federal stimulus grants.

We reached out to Cramer who said, "‪Support for tribes was a top priority as we assembled this legislation. The Phase Three package includes significant benefits for them,
including grant eligibility and an additional $8 billion in funding for health, nutrition, and education programs, all of which we strongly fought to secure."

We also reached out to the Joint Information Center for response from the governor and are waiting to hear back.