Indianz.Com > COVID-19 > Indian Health Service (Department of Health and Human Services)
Posted: September 14, 2020

The Indian Health Service has updated its coronavirus data, showing results as of September 12, 2020.

According to the data, 44,504 tests have returned positive for COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus. That represents an increase of 0.23 percent from the 44,400 cases previously reported by the IHS.

Altogether, 728,146 coronavirus tests have been administered through September 12, the data shows. That marks an increase of 0.48 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 almost 14.6 percent are positive.

Next is the Navajo Area, which serves the largest reservation in the United States. But even with nearly 13.6 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 165,499 tests administered in Alaska, only 0.87 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, 28.4 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 43.8 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 12, 2020.

IHS Area Tested Positive Negative
Alaska 165,499 1,448 145,018
Albuquerque 39,705 1,741 28,457
Bemidji 46,526 1,287 42,999
Billings 53,483 1,816 47,871
California 10,818 674 9,342
Great Plains 60,003 2,673 56,579
Nashville 25,508 1,939 22,934
Navajo 83,810 11,392 64,365
Oklahoma City 144,181 9,465 131,662
Phoenix 62,588 9,134 52,681
Portland 29,243 2,346 26,129
Tucson 6,782 589 6,087
TOTAL 728,146 44,504 634,124

Source: (Indian Health Service)

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