Indianz.Com > COVID-19 > Indian Health Service (Department of Health and Human Services)
Posted: September 23, 2020

The Indian Health Service has updated its coronavirus data, showing results as of September 21, 2020.

According to the data, 47,759 tests have returned positive for COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus. That represents an increase of 1.05 percent from the 47,263 cases previously reported by the IHS.

Altogether, 787,253 coronavirus tests have been administered through September 21, the data shows. That marks an increase of 1.3 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. However, the positive test rate appears to have grown slightly over the past couple of days.

Overall, nearly 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 percent are positive.

Next is the Navajo Area, which serves the largest reservation in the United States. But even with almost 13.2 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 almost 7.9 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 185,687 tests administered in Alaska, only 0.92 percent have returned positive, the data shows.

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, 30.7 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, 47.3 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 21, 2020.

IHS Area Tested Positive Negative
Alaska 185,687 1,703 163,959
Albuquerque 41,352 1,770  29,775
Bemidji 52,180 1,606 47,706
Billings 55,824 2,204  50,149
California 11,738 713  10,322
Great Plains 64,241 2,917  60,880
Nashville 26,502 1,983  23,736
Navajo 87,754 11,551  67,704
Oklahoma City 155,800 10,720 142,048
Phoenix 67,956 9,542 57,503
Portland 31,106  2,444  27,888
Tucson 7,113 606  6,397
TOTAL 787,253 47,759 688,067

Source: (Indian Health Service)

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