Indianz.Com > COVID-19 > Indian Health Service (Department of Health and Human Services)
Posted: September 13, 2020

The Indian Health Service has updated its coronavirus data, showing results as of September 11, 2020.

According to the data, 44,400 tests have returned positive for COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus. That represents an increase of 0.53 percent from the 44,167 cases previously reported by the IHS.

Altogether, 724,666 coronavirus tests have been administered through September 11, the data shows. That marks an increase of 0.93 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, 6.1 percent of IHS coronavirus tests have returned positive, according to the data. But the rate is far higher in the Phoenix Area, where 14.6 percent are positive.

Next is the Navajo Area, which serves the largest reservation in the United States. But even with nearly 13.7 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 almost 8.7 percent. It recently overtook the Nashville Area as the region with the third highest rate within the IHS system. The Portland Area,  though, also has a comparably high rate of 8 percent.

Still, 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 164,248 tests administered in Alaska, only 0.86 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, almost 28.3 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, nearly 43.6 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 September 11, 2020.

IHS Area Tested Positive Negative
Alaska 164,248 1,418 143,531
Albuquerque 39,704 1,741 28,454
Bemidji 45,549 1,277 42,037
Billings 53,483 1,816 47,863
California 10,799 674 9,322
Great Plains 59,823 2,656 56,319
Nashville 25,426 1,937 22,823
Navajo 83,336 11,385 64,091
Oklahoma City 143,766 9,428 131,294
Phoenix 62,507 9,133 52,572
Portland 29,243 2,346 26,129
Tucson 6,782 589 6,087
TOTAL 724,666 44,400 630,522

Source: https://www.ihs.gov/coronavirus (Indian Health Service)

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