Indianz.Com > COVID-19 > Indian Health Service (Department of Health and Human Services)
Posted: September 18, 2020

The Indian Health Service has updated its coronavirus data, showing results as of September 16, 2020.

According to the data, 45,903 tests have returned positive for COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus. That represents an increase of 0.67 percent from the 45,598 cases previously reported by the IHS.

Altogether, 758,318 coronavirus tests have been administered through September 16, the data shows. That marks an increase of 1.36 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 almost 14.3 percent are positive.

Next is the Navajo Area, which serves the largest reservation in the United States. But even with 13.4 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 8.5 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 nearly 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 176,095 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, 29.6 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, 45.6 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 16, 2020.

IHS Area Tested Positive Negative
Alaska 176,095 1,558 154,747
Albuquerque 40,563 1,750 28,871
Bemidji 49,593 1,452 45,698
Billings 54,934 1,935 48,434
California 11,287 694 9,869
Great Plains 62,381 2,761 58,956
Nashville 26,047 1,964 23,282
Navajo 85,521 11,491 65,844
Oklahoma City 149,916 10,042 136,920
Phoenix 64,789 9,255 54,717
Portland 30,203 2,404 27,030
Tucson 6,989 597 6,287
TOTAL 758,318 45,903 660,655

Source: (Indian Health Service)

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