Indianz.Com > COVID-19 > Indian Health Service (Department of Health and Human Services)
Posted: September 25, 2020

The Indian Health Service has updated its coronavirus data, showing results as of September 23, 2020.

According to the data, 48,378 tests have returned positive for COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus. The number is lower than the 48,501 cases previously reported by the IHS due to a discrepancy in the Phoenix Area data.

Altogether, 801,043 coronavirus tests have been administered through September 23, the data shows. That marks an increase of 1.01 percent from the day prior, though the number of tests in the Phoenix Area declined.

Overall, 6 percent of IHS coronavirus tests have returned positive, according to the data. But the rate is far higher in the Phoenix Area, where almost 14.2 percent are positive.

Next is the Navajo Area, which serves the largest reservation in the United States. But even with about 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 8.4 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 192,102 tests administered in Alaska, only 0.94 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, about 31.2 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, about 48.1 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 23, 2020.

IHS Area Tested Positive Negative
Alaska 192,102 1,811 169,775
Albuquerque 41,919 1,811  30,148
Bemidji 52,836 1,670 48,477
Billings 56,002 2,213  50,243
California 11,960 728  10,496
Great Plains 66,405 3,046 62,482
Nashville 27,109 2,012  24,176
Navajo 88,599 11,597  68,278
Oklahoma City 158,685 10,959 144,673
Phoenix 66,612 9,452 56,291
Portland 31,620 2,472  28,346
Tucson 7,194 607  6,479
TOTAL 801,043 48,378 699,864

Source: (Indian Health Service)

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