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Posted: September 30, 2020

COVID-19 Indian Country IHS

The Indian Health Service has updated its coronavirus data, showing results as of September 28, 2020.

According to the data, 50,219 tests have returned positive for COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus. That represents an increase of 1.05 percent from the 49,695 cases previously reported by the IHS.

Altogether, 834,192 coronavirus tests have been administered through September 28, the data shows. That marks an increase of 1.28 percent from the day prior.

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 percent are positive.

Next is the Navajo Area, which serves the largest reservation in the United States. But even with 12.9 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 nearly 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 208,572 tests administered in Alaska, only 0.99 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 32.6 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, almost 50.2 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 28, 2020.

IHS Area Tested Positive Negative
Alaska 208,572 2,073 185,516
Albuquerque 42,957 1,858  31,964
Bemidji 52,023 1,784 47,827
Billings 57,171 2,399  50,944
California 12,151 742  10,776
Great Plains 68,745 3,283 64,676
Nashville 27,929 2,048  24,856
Navajo 90,664 11,693  69,836
Oklahoma City 166,195 11,732 150,912
Phoenix 67,935 9,491 57,601
Portland 32,569 2,507  29,281
Tucson 7,281 609  6,564
TOTAL 834,192 50,219 730,753

Source: https://www.ihs.gov/coronavirus (Indian Health Service)

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