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Posted: January 11, 2021

COVID-19 Indian Country IHS

The Indian Health Service has updated its coronavirus data, showing results as of January 9, 2021.

According to the data, 158,891 tests have returned positive for COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus. That represents an increase of 0.4 percent from the 158,216 cases previously reported by the IHS.

Altogether, 1,759,288 coronavirus tests have been administered within the IHS through January 8, the data shows. That marks an increase of 0.2 percent from the day prior.

Since mid-October of 2020, 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 (16.6 percent), the Phoenix Area (14.3 percent), the Oklahoma City Area (13 percent), the Albuquerque Area (11.5 percent) and the Great Plains Area (10.7 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 (22.9 percent), the Phoenix Area (20.8 percent), the California Area (20.1 percent) and the Navajo Area (19.9 percent). Two of the four regions include the state of Arizona.

Overall, 9.8 percent of IHS tests have been positive since the onset of the pandemic, the data shows. Meanwhile, the 7-day average has dropped after increasing steadily during the holiday season. It now stands at 15.9 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.

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 January 9, 2021.

IHS Area
positive *
7-day rolling
positivity *
Alaska 435,445 9,722 363,600 2.6% 3.3%
Albuquerque 79,033 6,982 53,964 11.5% 17.8%
Bemidji 118,440 8,883 106,567 7.7% 9.1%
Billings 85,994 6,971 75,467 8.5% 11.0%
California 55,086 5,167 46,739 10.0% 20.1%
Great Plains 123,106 13,195 109,346 10.8% 15.2%
Nashville 56,176 4,569 50,516 8.3% 10.2%
Navajo 201,912 27,363 137,585 16.6% 19.9%
Oklahoma City 373,213 47,905 319,573 13.0% 22.9%
Phoenix 141,935 20,200 120,755 14.3% 20.8%
Portland 68,125 5,714 61,657 8.5% 10.3%
Tucson 20,823 2,220 18,356 10.8% 17.3%
TOTAL 1,759,288 158,891 1,464,125 9.8% 15.9%

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

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