Indianz.Com > COVID-19 > Indian Health Service (Department of Health and Human Services)
Posted: September 15, 2020

The Indian Health Service has updated its coronavirus data, showing results as of September 13, 2020.

According to the data, 44,857 tests have returned positive for COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus. That represents an increase of 0.79 percent from the 44,504 cases previously reported by the IHS.

Altogether, 734,619 coronavirus tests have been administered through September 13, the data shows. That marks an increase of 0.89 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, with fewer tests being administered and fewer positive results being reported.

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 nearly 14.6 percent are positive.

Next is the Navajo Area, which serves the largest reservation in the United States. But even with almost 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 nearly 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 168,226 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, almost 28.7 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 44.1 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 13, 2020.

IHS Area Tested Positive Negative
Alaska 168,226 1,468 147,873
Albuquerque 39,759 1,741 28,513
Bemidji 47,550 1,342 43,954
Billings 53,705 1,878 48,153
California 10,818 674 9,344
Great Plains 60,487 2,690 56,954
Nashville 25,603 1,947 23,030
Navajo 83,978 11,397 64,773
Oklahoma City 145,460 9,632 133,082
Phoenix 62,839 9,147 52,915
Portland 29,399 2,352 26,290
Tucson 6,795 589 6,100
TOTAL 734,619 44,857 640,981

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

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