Sokaogon Chippewa Community News

Wisconsin’s Tribes Have Weathered COVID-19 Better Than Tribes in Other States

By Shirin Ali, Medill News Service

Wisconsin’s Native American Tribes have taken aggressive steps to combat the coronavirus pandemic since January and recent data show they have fared better than other harder hit Tribes across the country.

Indian Health Service reported 450 Native Americans tested positive for COVID-19 as of July 15th across the Bemidji Area, which includes 11 federally recognized Wisconsin Tribes along with reservations in Michigan and Minnesota.

That means as the state passes 40,000 positive COVID-19 cases, Native Americans account for roughly 1% of the state’s caseload, which is about the same proportion of the Native population of the state. Tribes in other states have not fared nearly as well.

Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and Prevention data of the coronavirus broken down by race/ethnicity through May 28th show Native Americans make up about 5% of Arizona’s population but account for 6% of the state’s total number of COVID-19 cases.

The CDC has classified American Indians/Alaska Natives along with other racial and ethnic minority groups as having higher risk for contracting COVID-19 or experiencing severe illness, regardless of age, due to long-standing systemic health and social inequities.

Read the full story here.