COVID-19 continues to be a major health threat, especially for Minnesotans with disabilities. The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) has contracted with 48 community partners to help those most impacted by COVID-19 get vaccinated, improve health and recover from the effects of the disease.
The contracts extend MDH’s existing pandemic work with COVID-19 Community Coordinators. The community coordinators serve communities hit hardest by COVID-19, including communities of color, American Indian communities, LGBTQ communities and Minnesotans with disabilities. This round includes the largest number of community coordinators since the project started in October 2020.
To continue to serve each of these communities in ways that meet diverse community needs, MDH has contracted with the community groups through June 2024. The COVID-19 Community Coordinators will work on testing access and increasing vaccination rates while also addressing other health needs of community members.
There was strong interest in working as community coordinators. During the selection process, MDH received more than 100 applications.
Applicants could apply for a narrower charge of focusing on vaccines and testing or take a broader approach to help their communities recover from some of the harm done by COVID-19. In the end, 85 percent of the 48 selected contractors opted for the approach of assisting with COVID-19 recovery. In addition, most of these are also doing vaccine and testing work.
“To recover from the COVID-19 pandemic, Minnesotans are having to address worsened physical health due to long COVID and chronic diseases and the impacts of the pandemic on education, financial stability and mental health,” said Minnesota Commissioner of Health Dr. Brooke Cunningham. “These community partners will be working to strengthen their communities and connect people to resources while also addressing the immediate impacts of COVID-19.”
COVID-19 Community Coordinators can answer questions about topics such as COVID-19 testing and vaccination, food support, health care and mental health resources, housing and rental assistance, and employment resources. COVID-19 Community Coordinators draw on community strengths and trusted community networks to support Minnesotans who need COVID-19 information specific to their communities, including in their native languages.
Those affected by COVID-19 looking for support or resources can connect with a community partner using the online tool to search for outreach groups by cultural community, language, county and more. The online search tool can be found at COVID-19 Community Coordinator Search, at https://covidcommunitycoordinators.web.health.state.mn.us/
The helpful search tool provides organization names and contact information, as well as cultural communities served, other communities served, languages available and other detail. Tabs at the page right side can be clicked for organization hours, phone numbers, addresses, online contacts and more.
COVID-19 community coordinators support Minnesotans who need COVID-19 information specific to their communities, including in their languages. Coordinators help community members find and get critical resources to deal with health concerns as well as employment, food access, housing, child care, and legal rights. They can answer questions about where to get tested, where vaccines can be found, how to get a vaccine, and so much more.
Communities were involved with the selection process that included more than 50 reviewers, including community leaders, representatives from local governments and state staff. MDH made final funding decisions based upon these community recommendations and all applicants were notified of their status.
To learn more and find a community partner, visit COVID-19 Community Coordinators at https://www.health.state.mn.us/communities/equity/funding/ccc.html
MDH continues to provide an array of services for Minnesotans facing COVOID-19. Weekly situation updates, information about exposures and quarantine periods, and more details are available at https://www.health.state.mn.us/diseases/coronavirus/index.html