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Posted: October 2, 2020

COVID-19 Indian Country IHS

The Indian Health Service has updated its coronavirus data, showing results as of September 30, 2020.

According to the data, 52,339 tests have returned positive for COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus.  That represents an increase of 0.85 percent from the 51,900 cases previously reported by the IHS.

Altogether, 858,046 coronavirus tests have been administered through September 30, the data shows. That marks an increase of 1.1 percent from the day prior.

Overall, 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 almost 13.8 percent are positive.

Next is the Navajo Area, which serves the largest reservation in the United States. But even with nearly 12.8 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 8.2 percent. The high rates in these three 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 217,634 tests administered in Alaska,  a little over 1 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, 33.5 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, 51.6 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 30, 2020.

IHS Area Tested Positive Negative
Alaska 217,634 2,236 193,934
Albuquerque 43,514 1,875  33,395
Bemidji 54,228 1,880 50,015
Billings 59,056 2,594  52,500
California 12,368 746  10,921
Great Plains 70,454 3,423 66,215
Nashville 28,298 2,072  25,317
Navajo 92,135 11,780  70,696
Oklahoma City 170,094 12,986 154,370
Phoenix 69,796 9,606 59,340
Portland 33,090 2,532  29,741
Tucson 7,379 609  6,662
TOTAL 858,046 52,339 753,106

Source: (Indian Health Service)

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