Indianz.Com > COVID-19 > Indian Health Service (Department of Health and Human Services)
Posted: December 22, 2020

COVID-19 Indian Country IHS

The Indian Health Service has updated its coronavirus data, showing results as of December 20, 2020.

According to the data, 131,994 tests have returned positive for COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus. That represents an increase of about 0.5 percent from the 131,270 cases previously reported by the IHS.

Altogether, 1,581,207 coronavirus tests have been administered within the IHS through December 20, the data shows. That marks an increase of 0.3 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 (15.5 percent), the Phoenix Area (13.5 percent), the Oklahoma City Area (11.5 percent), the Albuquerque Area (10.8 percent) and the Great Plains Area (10.5 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, four regions have seen dramatic increases in COVID-19 cases. They are: the Oklahoma City Area (21.1 percent), the Navajo Area (20.9 percent), the Phoenix Area (20.8 percent) and the Tucson Area (19.7 percent). Three of the four regions include the state of Arizona.

Overall, 9 percent of IHS tests have been positive since the onset of the pandemic, the data shows. Meanwhile, the 7-day average has slowly risen over the last several days. It now stands at 13.7 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, 61.9 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, almost 95.4 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 December 20, 2020.

IHS Area
positive *
7-day rolling
positivity *
Alaska 402,385 8,515 336,975 2.5% 3.0%
Albuquerque 77,468 6,664 54,980 10.8% 14.6%
Bemidji 108,227 7,922 97,388 7.5% 11.5%
Billings 83,648 6,694 72,913 8.4% 9.0%
California 47,798 3,697 41,628 8.2% 12.4%
Great Plains 117,371 12,240 104,566 10.5% 15.6%
Nashville 47,690 3,526 43,372 7.5% 11.1%
Navajo 179,513 22,854 124,788 15.5% 20.9%
Oklahoma City 324,106 36,768 282,345 ** 11.5% 21.1%
Phoenix 125,292 16,829 107,611 13.5% 20.8%
Portland 59,798 5,027 53,980 8.5% 9.6%
Tucson 12,610 1,258 11,268 10.0% 19.7%
TOTAL 1,585,906 131,994 1,331,814 9.0% 13.7%

** Oklahoma negative tests decreased due to data reconciliation.

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

Source: (Indian Health Service)

Join the Conversation