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Coronavirus in Oklahoma: Tribes receive federal aid to fight COVID-19

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The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services announced Thursday that it awarded about $1.2 million to four tribes in Oklahoma to prepare, prevent, and respond to COVID-19 in rural tribal communities.

The Chickasaw Nation (Ada), the Cherokee Nation (Tahlequah), the Quapaw Tribe of Oklahoma (Quapaw) and the Cheyenne & Arapaho tribes (Concho) each received about $300,000 through the department's Health Resources and Services Administration.

Nationally, the department awarded $15 million was awarded to 52 tribes, tribal organizations, urban Indian health organizations and other tribal health services providers in 20 states."President Trump stands with Tribal nations across the country as they grapple with COVID-19 in rural communities," Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar, said in a news release. "Today’s funding gives Tribes critical support to build up their capacity for fighting COVID-19, boost testing capabilities, increase purchases of PPE, and hire and pay the personnel they need.”The awards are funded through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act the president signed into law March 27. The awards were made to federally recognized tribes and other tribal organizations based on their needs and capacity to implement COVID-19 related activities in their rural communities.

Tribes could request up to $300K in funding for these activities through the Rural Tribal COVID-19 Response (RTCR) program.

For the complete list of Rural Tribal COVID-19 response program award recipients, visit: www.hrsa.gov/rural-health/coronavirus/rural-tribal-covid-19-response-fy20-awards. For more information about COVID-19, visit www.coronavirus.gov. For more information on HRSA’s COVID-19 efforts, visit www.hrsa.gov/coronavirus.

CVS to open new testing sites

CVS Health will open 11 new COVID-19 test sites Friday at select pharmacy drive-thru locations in Oklahoma, including Edmond, Norman and Oklahoma City, the company announced Thursday.

The new sites will utilize self-swab tests and enable the company to establish 1,000 locations across the country by the end of May and process 1.5 million tests per month, according to a news release."CVS Health has been at the forefront of helping our nation scale-up COVID-19 testing capabilities, and we’re proud to meet our goal of establishing 1,000 testing sites in communities across the country," said Larry J. Merlo, president and CEO of CVS Health.

"Opening access to testing in more locations using our drive-thru window represents an important milestone in our response to the pandemic. We remain grateful for the daily efforts and sacrifices of our front-line colleagues who make the continued expansion of our testing possible."

The tests will be available to individuals meeting Centers for Disease Control and Prevention criteria, in addition to state and age guidelines. Patients must register in advance at CVS.com beginning Friday to schedule an appointment.

Patients will be required to stay in their cars and will be directed to the pharmacy drive-thru window, where they will be provided with a test kit and given instructions, and a CVS Pharmacy team member will observe the self-swab process to ensure it is done properly, according to the release.

Testing will not take place inside any retail locations and results will be available in approximately three days. A complete list of CVS Pharmacy drive-thru test sites can be found at https://cvshealth.com/covid-19/testing-locations.

Staff reports

Tim Willert

Tim Willert is a native Californian with Oklahoma ties who covers K-12 education, including Oklahoma City Public Schools and the state Education Department. Before that he covered district, federal and appellate courts in Oklahoma County. Prior... Read more ›

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