ROCHESTER, Minn. - While the coronavirus has been impacting urban areas most severely the virus is starting to spread to rural areas.
Now we're learning more about the challenges remote areas are facing and what needs to be done to help.
University of Minnesota researcher Dr. Carrie Henning-Smith says nearly 80-percent of rural communities are medically undeserved.
Henning-Smith says on average rural residents have lower life expectancy, higher rates of disability and higher rates of underlying health conditions compared to urban residents which puts them at increased risk of death from COVID-19.
She says to help in the short-term funding needs to be stabilized for rural hospitals and healthcare providers.
Henning-Smith explained, "To make sure we have testing treatment and PPE available and with scarce resources we should base allocation on which communities are disproportionately under-resourced and most effected especially at the intersection of race and rurality."
In the long-term Henning-Smith says medicare and access to insurance needs to be expanded to all rural resident who may need it.