Indianz.Com > COVID-19 > Indian Health Service (Department of Health and Human Services)
Posted: September 26, 2020

The Indian Health Service has updated its coronavirus data, showing results as of September 24, 2020.

According to the data, 48,798 tests have returned positive for COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus. That represents an increase of 0.57 percent from the 48,378 cases previously reported by the IHS.

Altogether, 808,808 coronavirus tests have been administered through September 24, the data shows. That marks an increase of 1.99 percent from the day prior.

According to the IHS,  certain figures for the Albuquerque Area and for the Bemidji Area have been adjusted downward due to “data reconciliation.”

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 14.1 percent are positive.

Next is the Navajo Area, which serves the largest reservation in the United States. But even with 13 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 7.7 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 196,732 tests administered in Alaska, only 0.96 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 31.6 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, 48.6 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 24, 2020.

IHS Area Tested Positive Negative
Alaska 196,732 1,879 174,471
Albuquerque 42,138 1,808 *  30,317
Bemidji * 50,897 1,659 46,373
Billings 56,160 2,238  50,333
California 12,062 730  10,586
Great Plains 66,911 3,100 63,026
Nashville 27,231 2,019  24,386
Navajo 89,222 11,617  68,610
Oklahoma City 160,880 11,194 146,659
Phoenix 67,253 9,466 56,929
Portland 32,082 2,479  28,829
Tucson 7,240 609  6,523
TOTAL 808,808 48,798 707,042

* Albuquerque Area Positive tests and Bemidji Area Tested, Positive and Negative tests decreased due to data reconciliation.

Source: (Indian Health Service)

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