Indianz.Com > COVID-19 > Indian Health Service (Department of Health and Human Services)
Posted: September 7, 2020

The Indian Health Service has updated its coronavirus data, showing results as of September 5, 2020.

According to the data, 42,853 tests have returned positive for COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus. That represents an increase of 0.19 percent from the 42,773 cases previously reported by the IHS.

Altogether, 689,879 coronavirus tests have been administered through September 6, the data shows. That marks an increase of 0.3 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, 6.2 percent of IHS coronavirus tests have returned positive, according to the data. But the rate is far higher in the Phoenix Area, where almost 15 percent are positive.

Next is the Navajo Area, which serves the largest reservation in the United States. But even with almost 13.9 percent of tests returning positive, the rate has fallen steadily over the last couple of months, following a noticeable decline as the region with the highest rate.

The Tucson Area, which covers southern Arizona, shows a high positive rate of 8.9 percent. It has overtaken the Nashville Area, as well as the Portland Area, as the region with the third highest rate within the IHS system.

The high rates in the Phoenix, Navajo and Tucson regions indicate a disproportionate toll of the coronavirus among IHS patients in the state of Arizona.

On the other end of the spectrum, aggressive efforts in the Alaska Area are turning up very few cases. Out of 152,776 tests administered in Alaska, only 0.84 percent have returned positive, the data shows.

The Alaska Area also far outnumbers every other area — including Navajo —  in terms of tests administered. The Oklahoma City Area remains in 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, 26.9 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, almost 41.5 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 September 5, 2020.

IHS Area Tested Positive Negative
Alaska 152,776 1,282 131,270
Albuquerque 39,165 1,730 27,888
Bemidji 43,101 1,186 39,671
Billings 51,959 1,677 46,724
California 10,328 664 8,880
Great Plains 55,032 2,437 51,834
Nashville 24,601 1,922 22,088
Navajo 81,453 11,309 62,424
Oklahoma City 136,462 8,755 125,010
Phoenix 60,085 8,992 50,340
Portland 28,409 2,319 25,345
Tucson 6,508 580 5,819
TOTAL 689,879 42,853 597,293

Source: (Indian Health Service)

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