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

The Indian Health Service has updated its coronavirus data, showing results as of September 17, 2020.

According to the data, 46,429 tests have returned positive for COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus. That represents an increase of 1.15 percent from the 45,903 cases previously reported by the IHS.

Altogether, 765,749 coronavirus tests have been administered through September 17, the data shows. That marks an increase of 0.98 percent from the day prior.

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 14.2 percent are positive.

Next is the Navajo Area, which serves the largest reservation in the United States. But even with nearly 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 177,941 tests administered in Alaska, only 0.90 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 29.9 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, about 46 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 17, 2020.

IHS Area Tested Positive Negative
Alaska 177,941 1,595 156,617
Albuquerque 40,843 1,753 29,301
Bemidji 50,239 1,486 46,202
Billings 55,262 2,053 49,566
California 11,451 702 9,991
Great Plains 62,918 2,814 59,477
Nashville 26,147 1,965 23,463
Navajo 85,961 11,496 66,111
Oklahoma City 152,047 10,248 138,767
Phoenix 65,416 9,291 55,186
Portland 30,535 2,429 27,341
Tucson 6,989 597 6,287
TOTAL 765,749 46,429 668,309
Source: (Indian Health Service)
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