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Posted: October 15, 2020

COVID-19 Indian Country IHS

The Indian Health Service has updated its coronavirus data, showing results as of October 13, 2020.

According to the data, 58,875 tests have returned positive for COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus. That represents an increase of 1.3 percent from the 58,119 cases previously reported by the IHS.

Altogether, 981,588 coronavirus tests have been administered within the IHS through October 13, the data shows. That marks an increase of 0.8 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 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 8 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 266,223 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, 38.3 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, 59 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 13, 2020.

IHS Area Tested Positive Negative
Alaska 266,223 3,226 239,255
Albuquerque 47,056 2,099 34,587
Bemidji 60,514 2,382 55,580
Billings 66,483 3,857 58,606
California 21,296 1,370 19,473
Great Plains 78,611 4,347 73,396
Nashville 30,999 2,230 27,732
Navajo 103,429 12,061 78,743
Oklahoma City 189,049 14,118 170,745
Phoenix 74,082 9,842 63,325
Portland 36,017 2,714 32,505
Tucson 7,829 629 7,092
TOTAL 981,588 58,875 861,039

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

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