Indianz.Com > COVID-19 > Indian Health Service (Department of Health and Human Services)
Posted: December 28, 2020

COVID-19 Indian Country IHS

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

According to the data, 138,091 tests have returned positive for COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus. That represents an increase of 0.2 percent from the 137,771 cases previously reported by the IHS.

Altogether, 1,630,882 coronavirus tests have been administered within the IHS through December 26, the data shows. That marks an increase of 0.1 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 (15.7 percent), the Phoenix Area (13.7 percent), the Oklahoma City Area (11.9 percent), the Albuquerque Area (10.9 percent) and the Great Plains Area (10.6 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 have seen dramatic increases in COVID-19 cases. They are: the Phoenix Area (24.1 percent), the Oklahoma City Area (23.8 percent) and the Navajo Area (19.4 percent). Two of the three regions include the state of Arizona.

Overall, 9.2 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 13.8 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 63.7 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, 98 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 26, 2020.

IHS Area
positive *
7-day rolling
positivity *
Alaska 412,751 8,730 344,862 2.5% 2.2%
Albuquerque 78,680 6,839 55,951 10.9% 13.8%
Bemidji 109,800 8,057 98,774 7.5% 8.4%
Billings 83,934 6,735 73,695 8.4% 11.2%
California 50,871 4,123 44,327 8.5% 14.4%
Great Plains 118,668 12,462 105,621 10.6% 16.5%
Nashville 49,133 3,691 44,556 7.7% 12.7%
Navajo 185,411 23,931 128,386 15.7% 19.4%
Oklahoma City 335,560 39,262 291,175 11.9% 23.8%
Phoenix 129,726 17,704 111,161 13.7% 24.1%
Portland 63,395 5,245 57,261 8.4% 5.9%
Tucson 12,953 1,312 11,557 10.2% 15.8%
TOTAL 1,630,882 138,091 1,367,326 9.2% 13.8%

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

Source: Indian Health Service (

Join the Conversation