Heinrich: Federal govt. needs to provide more COVID-19 resources to rural, tribal communities | KOB 4
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Heinrich: Federal govt. needs to provide more COVID-19 resources to rural, tribal communities

Nathan O'Neal
Updated: April 02, 2020 06:08 PM
Created: April 02, 2020 04:58 PM

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M.- U.S. Sen. Martin Heinrich wants rural and tribal communities in New Mexico to be prepared for the eventual spread of COVID-19.

Heinrich is calling on the federal government to focus on underserved communities.

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"It can feel like the news you're seeing in cities like New York or even Albuquerque won't hit home where you are," Heinrich said during a conference call Thursday. "We need to keep in mind that while surges of infections may hit some of our rural communities later, any increase in coronavirus cases will place acute strain on rural hospitals and clinics that are already struggling to keep their doors open."

Heinrich is pushing for expanded resources for treating infected patients, especially in tribal communities.

"Ground zero for this is the Navajo Nation right now," he said. "But we are also seeing cases spread out in other tribal communities."

While congressional relief packages set aside millions of dollars in federal aid for tribal communities, Sen. Heinrich is pushing for a mobile combat hospital to serve the Navajo Nation.

"I'm also working to support Navajo Nation's President Nez to push for a similar deployment of emergency units that can serve reservation communities that are seeking spiking surges of coronavirus," Heinrich said.

He added: "We need the administration to focus as much on Indian Country as much as they are focused on New Orleans or New York City."


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