Indianz.Com > COVID-19 > Indian Health Service (Department of Health and Human Services)
Posted: September 24, 2020

The Indian Health Service has updated its coronavirus data, showing results as of September 22, 2020.

According to the data, 48,501 tests have returned positive for COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus. That represents an increase of 1.55 percent from the 47,759 cases previously reported by the iHS.

Altogether, 793,035 coronavirus tests have been administered through September 22, the data shows. That marks an increase of 0.73 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 few 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 13.1 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 7.8 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 187,239 tests administered in Alaska, only 0.93 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, almost 31 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, nearly 47.7 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 22, 2020.

IHS Area Tested Positive Negative
Alaska 187,239 1,732 165,311
Albuquerque 41,584 1,784  29,937
Bemidji 52,056 1,631 48,031
Billings 55,993 2,213  50,236
California 11,943 728  10,481
Great Plains 65,667 3,005  61,994
Nashville 26,863 1,999  23,995
Navajo 88,223 11,571  67,979
Oklahoma City 157,000 10,787 143,272
Phoenix 67,956 9,542 57,503
Portland 31,375 2,452  28,144
Tucson 7,136 607  6,421
TOTAL 793,035 48,501 693,304

Source: (Indian Health Service)

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