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Posted: November 5, 2020

COVID-19 Indian Country IHS

The Indian Health Service has updated its coronavirus data, showing results as of November 3, 2020.

According to the data, 74,322 tests have returned positive for COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus. That represents an increase of nearly 2 percent from the 72,883 cases previously reported by the IHS.

Altogether, 1,149,068 coronavirus tests have been administered within the IHS through November 3, the data shows. That marks an increase of about 1.5 percent from the day prior.

Since mid-October, the IHS has been providing additional information about the spread of the coronavirus within the system. 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 have been seen in the Navajo Area (12.9 percent), the Phoenix Area (12.9 percent) and the Oklahoma City Area (8.4 percent). The first two 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 more contemporary look at the impact of the coronavirus. The data shows where COVID-19 cases have been increasing recently.

Based on the 7-day rolling average positivity, three regions are seeing dramatic increases in COVID-19 cases. They are: the Great Plains Area (24.6 percent), the Billings Area (15.5 percent) and the Albuquerque Area (13 percent).

Additionally, the Oklahoma City Area (12.9 percent) has seen increases in recent days.

Overall, 6.9 percent of IHS tests have been positive since the onset of the pandemic. The 7-day average has grown higher over the last couple of weeks and now stands at 9.9 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, almost 45 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, 69.1 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 November 3, 2020.

IHS Area
Tested
Positive
Negative
Cumulative
percent
positive *
7-day rolling
average
positivity *
Alaska 311,899 4,961 275,505 1.8% 4.6%
Albuquerque 56,889 3,110 42,311 6.8% 13.0%
Bemidji 75,468 3,763 68,537 5.2% 9.2%
Billings 72,089 4,924 63,054 7.2% 15.5%
California 25,530 1,605 23,271 6.5% 5.2%
Great Plains 90,611 6,968 82,497 7.8% 24.6%
Nashville 35,314 2,530 31,598 7.4% 6.3%
Navajo 120,074 13,248 89,820 12.9% 8.7%
Oklahoma City 220,729 18,043 197,910 8.4% 12.9%
Phoenix 91,368 11,478 78,922 12.9% 12.1%
Portland 40,410 3,012 36,670 7.6% 6.3%
Tucson 8,687 680 7,898 7.9% 7.3%
TOTAL 1,149,068 74,322 997,993 6.9% 9.9%

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

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