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Biden Administration Funds $1B for COVID-19 Testing in Indian Country

NEW YORK – The Biden Administration announced on Friday $1 billion in funding for COVID-19 testing in Indian Country.

The funding is part of a total of $4 billion announced on Friday to tackle COVID-19 in Indian Country. Citing a report from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the administration said that American Indians and Alaska Natives are 3.5 times more likely to get the disease than the non-Hispanic white population and have had the highest hospitalization rate of any race or ethnic group.

The $1 billion will go toward detecting, diagnosing, tracing, monitoring, and mitigating COVID-19 infections in Indian Country. The Indian Health Service will use the funding to increase contract tracing, drive-through testing sites, pop-up testing sites, and other public health strategies to mitigate the spread of SARS-CoV-2, the White House said in a statement. The money will also be used to purchase personal protective equipment, medical supplies, tests, and therapeutics.

The administration is also providing $600 million to increase COVID-19 vaccinations in Indian Country; $2 billion for tribal health systems "due to lost reimbursements for care" during the pandemic; $84 million in support of urban Indian organizations; $140 million for health IT and equipment for telehealth services; and $500 million to support overall healthcare services in Indian Country.

The funding is part of the American Rescue Plan.