Pulse oximeters, blood pressure monitors headed to Minnesota Indigenous communities to help combat COVID-19

Close-up of human hand using a home pulse oximeter from Innovo to measure heartbeat and blood oxygen saturation, San Ramon, California, April 25, 2020. Pulse oximeters are often used in homecare for respiratory illnesses including the COVID-19 corona (Smith Collection/Gado/Getty Images)

Blood pressure monitors, pulse oximeters and technology that supports telehealth visits are on their way to elders from Indigenous communities in Minnesota to help them fight against COVID-19 until they can be vaccinated.  

The more than $500,000 in equipment and technology is paid for through the Coronavirus Relief Fund. It is being distributed by the Native American Community Clinic in Minneapolis and the Northwest Indian Community Development Center in Bemidji through a grant contract with the Minnesota Department of Human Services. 

Data shows American Indians have been disproportionately impacted by COVID-19 infections and fatalities during the pandemic, according to DHS. They have the highest percentages hospitalized (16%), admitted to the ICU (6%), and deaths (4%) due to COVID-19 compared to other racial and ethnic communities.