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Posted: October 3, 2020

COVID-19 Indian Country IHS

The Indian Health Service has updated its coronavirus data, showing results as of October 1, 2020.

According to the data, 52,590 tests have returned positive for COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus.  That represents an increase of 0.48 percent from the 52,339 cases previously reported by the IHS.

Altogether, 865,427 coronavirus tests have been administered through October 1, the data shows. That marks an increase of 0.86 percent from the day prior.

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 13.7 percent are positive.

Next is the Navajo Area, which serves the largest reservation in the United States. But even with 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 221,767 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, 33.8 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 52.1 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 October 1, 2020.

IHS Area Tested Positive Negative
Alaska 221,767 2,320 197,981
Albuquerque 44,355 1,923 33,395
Bemidji 55,002 1,949 50,747
Billings 59,186 2,628  52,600
California 12,483 747  11,007
Great Plains 71,909 3,524 67,153
Nashville 28,511 2,079  25,446
Navajo 92,687 11,861  71,158
Oklahoma City 168,793 12,782 153,609
Phoenix 70,150 9,633 59,668
Portland 33,162 2,534  29,796
Tucson 7,422 610  6,704
TOTAL 865,427 52,590 759,264

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

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