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Posted: October 14, 2020

COVID-19 Indian Country IHS

The Indian Health Service has updated its coronavirus data, showing results as of October 12, 2020.

According to the data, 58,119 tests have returned positive for COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus. That represents an increase of 1.3 percent from the 57,357 cases previously reported by the IHS.

Altogether, 973,824 coronavirus tests have been administered within the IHS through October 12, the data shows. That marks an increase of 0.77 percent from the day prior.

Overall, 5.9 percent of IHS coronavirus tests have returned positive, according to the data. But the rate is far higher in the Phoenix Area, where 13.3 percent are positive.

Next is the Navajo Area, which serves the largest reservation in the United States. But even with nearly 11.7 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 almost 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 264,093 tests administered in Alaska, 1.2 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, 38 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, 58.6 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 October 12, 2020.

IHS Area Tested Positive Negative
Alaska 264,093 3,215 237,927
Albuquerque 46,803 2,059 34,319
Bemidji 59,814 2,319 55,137
Billings 64,980 3,607 57,275
California 21,180 1,349 19,473
Great Plains 77,937 4,216 72,968
Nashville 30,799 2,224  27,555
Navajo 103,014 12,012 78,444
Oklahoma City 188,041 13,980 169,913
Phoenix 73,888 9,827 63,162
Portland 35,486 2,683 32,019
Tucson 7,789 628 7,053
TOTAL 973,824 58,119 855,245

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

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