Indianz.Com > COVID-19 > Indian Health Service (Department of Health and Human Services)
Posted: September 16, 2020

The Indian Health Service has updated its coronavirus data, showing results as of September 14, 2020.

According to the data, 45,198 tests have returned positive for COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus. That represents an increase of 0.76 percent from the 44,857 cases previously reported by the IHS.

Altogether, 741,081 coronavirus tests have been administered through September 14, the data shows. That marks an increase of 0.88 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 14.4 percent are positive.

Next is the Navajo Area, which serves the largest reservation in the United States. But even with 13.5 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 170,049 tests administered in Alaska, only 0.88 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, 28.9 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, 44.5 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 14, 2020.

IHS Area Tested Positive Negative
Alaska 170,049 1,488 149,289
Albuquerque 39,963 1,749 28,653
Bemidji 48,230 1,380 44,480
Billings 53,987 1,898 48,198
California 10,969 679 9,528
Great Plains 60,931 2,715 57,535
Nashville 25,767 1,953 23,143
Navajo 84,200 11,401 64,994
Oklahoma City 146,800 9,761 134,117
Phoenix 63,844 9,213 53,851
Portland 29,546 2,372 26,423
Tucson 6,795 589 6,100
TOTAL 741,081 45,198 646,311

Source: (Indian Health Service)

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