Coronavirus/CVOID-19 and Community Action in North Dakota
The Community Action Agencies across North Dakota are operating and doing their very best to meet needs of those affected by CVOID-19. Please contact your local Community Action Agency to verify hours of service and staff availability. The situation continues to evolve and appropriate updates will be made as available.
North Dakota Hotlines
For ND shelters and agencies: if someone needs quarantine with no other avenues call the ND DOC at 1-701-328-0707 and they will assist in finding an alternative short-term quarantine location.
General questions regarding the corona virus, COVID-19: Call the North Dakota Department of Health Hotline at 1-866-207-2880, they are available from 7:00 am to 10:00 pm 7 days a week or visit them online at www.health.nd.gov. If you need medical advice regarding this issue, please call your health care provider. Please do not go to a location before calling.
Minnesota Department of Health COVID-19 hotline : 1-800-657-3903 or 651-297-1304 | 7:00am to 7:00pm.
CAPND Statement on the Effects of CVOID-19 on Low-Income Families
It is almost always the case that when disasters strike, people living in poverty end up being affected disproportionately. A lack of resources limit both these families’ ability to prepare for emergencies and their ability to recover. As the novel coronavirus spreads across the country and more Americans are contracting COVID-19, we can expect that low-income Americans will be hit especially hard.
Here are some of the ways in which low-income people will be disproportionately impacted:
- Poor Americans are much more likely to be uninsured, and as a result, much less likely to receive medical care. Without regular medical care, they are more likely to have underlying health conditions that may make them more susceptible to the worst effects of COVID-19, resulting in a higher mortality rate. Even without underlying medical conditions, the inability to afford healthcare may keep some from receiving treatment, exacerbating symptoms, and perhaps even prolonging the course of the disease.
- Those without health insurance may also be less likely to get tested when they exhibit symptoms, and therefore may not know that they have been infected with the coronavirus. Some could unwittingly be passing on the virus, meaning that a lack of insurance coverage is a health threat for everyone.
- With little or no money to spare, low-income people are less able to stock up in anticipation of quarantines or travel restrictions.
- Since low wage workers are disproportionately employed in industries that are most likely to experience some of the most severe effects of restrictions on travel and measures to encourage social distancing (restaurants and hotels, for example), these individuals are the most likely to experience unemployment resulting from the spread of the virus and measures to control it.
- Necessary measures intended to limit the spread of the virus, such as social distancing, may also harm poor people. If workers are forced to stay away from work temporarily, low-wage jobs are the most likely to involve tasks that cannot be done at home. In fact, these jobs, which often involve caregiving and customer service, are more likely to involve direct human contact than most higher wage jobs. For those low-wage workers who do have jobs that are amenable to working remotely, they still may not able to do so because they are less likely to have access to broadband Internet connections. Since low-wage jobs rarely include paid leave, these workers are faced with the prospect of long periods of lost income whether or not they actually contract the coronavirus.
- Public transit, most commonly utilized by low-income populations, does not allow for social distancing and the surfaces on a bus support up to three days of virus persistence. High-wage workers can afford to use alternatives to public transportation, but low-wage workers cannot.
In light the outsized impact that low-income people will endure, CAPND urges employers and policy makers to consider these burdens and take steps to lessen the impact on low-income citizens. These steps should include the following:
- Extend health coverage so that low-income people can receive testing and treatment they need. Tests should be provided for anyone free of charge. Congress should make more Medicaid funding available and grant waivers to states to ensure that Medicaid covers the cost of treatment. CAPND is in agreement to use the power of the CDC to provide free testing for COVID-19 for everyone, although the details of how, when, and where these services will be provided have not yet been announced.
- The federal government should provide additional funds for states to extend unemployment insurance benefits, and states should be prepared to extend the period of eligibility these benefits.
- Employers should provide paid leave for workers unable to work due to illness, quarantine, or temporary closure of workplaces. The federal government should provide funds to assist small employers make this leave available.
- The North Dakota Public Service Commission should issue order that will implement a moratorium for electric, gas, and water utilities. This moratorium should be indefinite, while we are in a State of Public Health and Civil Preparedness Emergency. Our clients will suffer economic losses during this time and will have difficulty paying these bills.