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Posted: October 7, 2020

COVID-19 Indian Country IHS

The Indian Health Service has updated its coronavirus data, showing results as of October 5, 2020.

According to the data, 53,565 tests have returned positive for COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus. That represents an increase of 1.02 percent from the 53,023 cases previously reported by the IHS.

Altogether, 898,229 coronavirus tests have been administered through October 5, the data shows. That marks an increase of 1.2 percent from the day prior.

Overall, almost 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 13.7 percent are positive.

Next is the Navajo Area, which serves the largest reservation in the United States. But even with about 12.1 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 8.1 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 236,167  tests administered in Alaska, 1.1 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, about 35.1 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, 54 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 5, 2020.

IHS Area Tested Positive Negative
Alaska 236,167 2,613 211,673
Albuquerque 45,099 1,957 33,164
Bemidji 56,211 2,041 52,151
Billings 60,529 2,812 53,437
California 19,858 1,273 18,393
Great Plains 74,408 3,728 69,019
Nashville 29,334 2,131  26,061
Navajo 98,422 11,868 75,413
Oklahoma City 165,941 12,287 149,712
Phoenix 70,909 9,691 60,361
Portland 33,829 2,554  30,447
Tucson 7,522 610  6,804
TOTAL 898,229 53,565 786,635

Source: (Indian Health Service)

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