Indianz.Com > COVID-19 > Indian Health Service (Department of Health and Human Services)
Posted: September 17, 2020

The Indian Health Service has updated its coronavirus data, showing results as of September 15, 2020.

According to the data, 45,598 tests have returned positive for COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus. That represents an increase of 0.88 percent from the 45,198 cases previously reported by the IHS.

Altogether, 748,137 coronavirus tests have been administered through September 15, the data shows. That marks an increase of 0.95 percent from the day prior.

The low growth rates reflect a general slowdown of coronavirus activity reported by the IHS, with fewer tests being administered and fewer positive results being reported since around July 21.

Overall, almost 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 14.3 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 8.6 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 171,429 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, 29.2 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 45 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 15, 2020.

IHS Area Tested Positive Negative
Alaska 171,429 1,502 150,274
Albuquerque 40,103 1,749 28,754
Bemidji 49,180 1,436 45,340
Billings 54,190 1,917 48,384
California 11,158 686 9,765
Great Plains 61,682 2,734 58,448
Nashville 25,933 1,960 23,207
Navajo 84,765 11,456 65,376
Oklahoma City 148,654 9,934 135,895
Phoenix 64,548 9,246 54,500
Portland 29,577 2,381 26,440
Tucson 6,918 597 6,218
TOTAL 748,137 45,598 652,601

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

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