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Posted: January 2, 2021

COVID-19 Indian Country IHS

The Indian Health Service has updated its coronavirus data, showing results as of December 31, 2020.

According to the data, 146,630 tests have returned positive for COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus. That represents an increase of almost 0.9 percent from the 146,630 cases previously reported by the IHS.

Altogether, 1,687,568 coronavirus tests have been administered within the IHS through December 31, the data shows. That marks an increase of 0.4 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 (16.1 percent), the Phoenix Area (14 percent), the Oklahoma City Area (12.4 percent), the Albuquerque Area (11.1 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, four regions have seen dramatic increases in COVID-19 cases. They are: the Phoenix Area (25.9 percent), the Oklahoma City Area (22.6 percent) and the Navajo Area (19.3 percent) and the Great Plains Area (18.7 percent). Two of the three regions include the state of Arizona.

Overall, 9.4 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.

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 31, 2020.

IHS Area
positive *
7-day rolling
positivity *
Alaska 420,176  8,953 350,962 2.5% 2.4%
Albuquerque 81,918 7,075 56,773 11.1% 6.6%
Bemidji 114,255 8,503 102,646 7.7% 8.3%
Billings 84,229 6,776 73,961 8.4% 14.0%
California 53,959 4,565 46,843 8.9% 13.5%
Great Plains 119,794 12,663 106,556 10.6% 18.7%
Nashville 50,916 3,946 45,950 7.9% 14.9%
Navajo 191,817 25,290 131,769 16.1% 19.3%
Oklahoma City 350,547 42,674 301,950 12.4% 22.6%
Phoenix 134,834 18,718 115,088 14.0% 25.9%
Portland 65,336 5,427 58,988 8.4% 6.1%
Tucson 19,787 2,040 17,513 10.4% 14.2%
TOTAL 1,687,568 146,630 1,408,999 9.4% 13.7%

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

Source: Indian Health Service (

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