Rachel Staley Grant and Jessica Bell
Experts from the COVID-Local project team—Beth Cameron, Jeremy Konyndyk, Rebecca Katz, Ellie Graeden, and Jessica Bell—participated in a June 11 discussion with state, tribal, and community leaders in Montana about the COVID-19 outbreak and response in their state, and how COVID-Local.org resources can help local decision-makers navigate decisions during this pandemic. The call included more than 30 participants, including leaders from six tribes, state government representatives, public health officials, and community service members. The discussion was moderated by Cora Neumann, Montana resident and founder of We Are Montana and the Global First Ladies Alliance, and conducted with support from Western Native Voice.
The discussion focused on challenges that tribal nations and rural communities in Montana face as a result of the pandemic, many of which are similar to those being experienced in numerous states across the country. Topics included: access and approach to testing, access and distribution of personal protective equipment, communicating risks throughout communities, and how to support those seeking shelter or needing a place to isolate or quarantine.
COVID-Local.org offers free step-by-step guidance and metrics for local leaders to safely re-open their communities and links to external resources to support tribal nations and rural communities in this time of crisis. The information on COVID-Local.org is informed by existing guidance from U.S. and global authorities, public health research findings, and lessons observed from countries battling the pandemic. As highlighted by NBC’s Dateline and The Guardian, the metrics and guidance are compiled into interactive graphics and downloadable PDFs for decision-makers to assess where they are in pandemic recovery, pinpoint areas for action, and make decisions about next steps.