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Posted: October 28, 2020

COVID-19 Indian Country IHS

The Indian Health Service has updated its coronavirus data, showing results as of October 26, 2020.

According to the data, 67,254 tests have returned positive for COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus. That represents an increase of nearly 1.2 percent from the 66,475 cases previously reported by the IHS.

Altogether, 1,079,253 coronavirus tests have been administered within the IHS through October 26, the data shows. That marks an increase of 0.8 percent from the day prior.

Since the release of data from October 14, the IHS has been providing additional information about the spread of the coronavirus. The cumulative percent positive column shows the historical COVID-19 infection rate, meaning the number of tests that have returned positive since the onset of the pandemic.

Based on the cumulative percent positive, the highest rates are being seen in the Phoenix Area (12.9 percent) the Navajo Area (12.9 percent) and the Tucson Area (8 percent). All three regions include the state of Arizona, indicating a disproportionate toll of COVID-19 in the state.

The 7-day rolling average positivity column offers a contemporary look at the impact of the coronavirus. The data shows where COVID-19 cases have been increasing more recently.

Based on the 7-day rolling average positivity, three different areas have seen dramatic increases in COVID-19 cases. They are: the Great Plains Area (23 percent), the Billings Area (12.8 percent) and the Oklahoma City Area (12.4 percent).

Overall, 6.7 percent of IHS tests have been positive since the onset of the pandemic. The 7-day average is slightly higher, at 8.6 percent.

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, 42.1 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, 64.9 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 26, 2020.

IHS Area
positive *
7-day rolling
positivity *
Alaska 292,012 4,141 260,307 1.6% 3.9%
Albuquerque 52,957 2,581 38,422 6.3% 8.6%
Bemidji 69,318 3,145 63,455 4.7% 8.1%
Billings 70,080 4,528 61,889 6.8% 12.8%
California 23,791 1,493 21,724 6.4% 5.4%
Great Plains 85,381 5,692 78,731 6.7% 23.0%
Nashville 33,671 2,446 30,309 7.5% 8.8%
Navajo 113,673 12,660 85,542 12.9% 6.5%
Oklahoma City 207,477 16,277 186,752 8.0% 12.4%
Phoenix 84,115 10,755 72,392 12.9% 9.4%
Portland 38,593 2,890 34,990 7.6% 8.1%
Tucson 8,185 646 7,430 8.0% 5.9%
TOTAL 1,079,253 67,254 941,943 6.7% 8.6%

* Cumulative percent positive and 7-day rolling average positivity are updated three days per week.

Source: (Indian Health Service)

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