On September 9, 2020, Representatives Lee (CA-13), Bass (CA-37), Kelly (IL-2), Chu (CA-27), Castro (TX-20), Haaland (NM-1), and Davids (KS-3) introduced the COVID Community Care Act. The bill, if passed, would establish a contact tracing program through community-based organizations and nonprofits. The bill would also provide $8.4 billion in grants to community based programs and nonprofits to conduct contact tracing with $400 million dollars going to fund COVID-19 programs administered by IHS, Tribal organizations, and urban Indian organizations (UIOs).
The COVID Community Cares Act also requires that the Secretary of Health and Human Services participate in an urban confer with UIOs before implementing the program. The bill will provide this funding to organizations that conduct contact tracing in areas with higher rates of COVID-19, a high percentage of minority residents, or those who have historically lacked access to healthcare. In order to access the funds, those hired must have experience and relationships with the people living in the community being served. The COVID Community Care Act aims to ensure that communities subject to institutionalized racism have the tools to protect themselves from the coronavirus. The bill is supported by both co-chairs of the Congressional Native American Caucus.