Indianz.Com > COVID-19 > Indian Health Service (Department of Health and Human Services)
Posted: August 18, 2020

The Indian Health Service has updated its coronavirus data, showing results as of August 16, 2020.

According to the data, 37,690 tests have returned positive for COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus. That represents an increase of 0.7 percent from the 37,428 cases previously reported.

Altogether, 575,479 coronavirus tests have been administered through August 16, the data shows. That marks an increase of 0.66 percent percent from the day prior.

The low growth rates in COVID-19 cases and tests are indicative of a lull in data seen during weekends. However, since July 21 there has been a slowdown of coronavirus activity reported by the IHS.

Overall, about 6.5 percent of IHS coronavirus tests have returned positive, according to the data. But the rate is far higher in the Phoenix Area, where 16.5 percent are positive.

Next is the Navajo Area, which serves the largest reservation in the United States. But even with 14.8 percent of tests returning positive, the rate has fallen steadily over the last month, following  a noticeable decline as the region with the highest rate.

The Nashville Area, which covers a wide area of Indian Country, including the South and Northeastern parts of the U.S., also continues to show a high positive rate of almost 8.5 percent.

On the other end of the spectrum, aggressive efforts in the Alaska Area are turning up very few cases. Out of 115,524 tests administered in Alaska, only 0.72 percent have returned positive, the data shows.

The Alaska Area also outnumbers every other area — including Navajo —  in terms of tests administered. The Oklahoma City Area has fallen back to the second spot.

The data, however, is incomplete. While 100 percent of facilities run directly by the IHS are reporting data, only 33 percent of tribally managed facilities and 44 percent of urban Indian organizations are doing the same, the agency has told Indianz.Com.

The agency also provided to Indianz.Com the service population for 2019: 2,562,290. Based on that figure, 22.5 percent of American Indians and Alaska Natives have been tested for the coronavirus since the IHS began reporting data in March.

The IHS user population, on the other hand, is a much smaller number. As of 2019, 1,662,834 American Indians and Alaska Natives have lived within a service delivery area and have received health care at an IHS or tribal facility during the previous three years.

Based on the user population, 34.6 percent of Native Americans have been tested for the coronavirus since the IHS began reporting data in March.

COVID-19 Cases by IHS Area

Data are reported from IHS, tribal, and urban Indian organization facilities, though reporting by tribal and urban programs is voluntary. Data reflect cases reported to the IHS through 11:59 pm on August 16, 2020.

IHS Area Tested Positive Negative
Alaska 115,524 826 98,511
Albuquerque 36,315 1,651 24,740
Bemidji 35,258 956 32,106
Billings 42,487 1,198 38,194
California 8,764 588 7,408
Great Plains 46,442 2,001 43,447
Nashville 21,548 1,829 19,261
Navajo 74,181 10,966 56,158
Oklahoma City 113,730 6,774 104,315
Phoenix 51,434 8,494 42,464
Portland 23,939 1,851 21,398
Tucson 5,857 556 5,192
TOTAL 575,479 37,690 493,194

Source: (Indian Health Service)

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