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Posted: March 18, 2021

COVID-19 Indian Country IHS

The Indian Health Service has updated its coronavirus data, showing results through March 16, 2021.

According to the data, 188,783 tests have returned positive for COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus. That represents an increase of less than 1 percent from the 188,598 cases previously reported by the IHS.

Altogether, 2,146,454 coronavirus tests have been administered within the IHS through March 16, the data shows. That marks an increase of about 0.3 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 three areas. Two of them 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, two areas continue to see higher COVID-19 rates. They follow:

Overall, 9.5 percent of IHS tests have been positive since the onset of the pandemic, the data shows. Meanwhile, the 7-day average has declined significantly after increasing during the holiday season. It now stands at 3.3 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 March 16, 2021.

IHS Area
positive *
7-day rolling
positivity *
Alaska 544,344 11,344 461,702 2.4% 0.9%
Albuquerque 90,337 8,050 62,147 11.5% 4.4%
Bemidji 145,894 10,243 132,118 7.2% 4.2%
Billings 95,219 7,322 84,621 8.0% 2.2%
California 73,590 7,676 62,258 11.0% 9.1%
Great Plains 135,660 13,991 121,150 10.4% 6.7%
Nashville 71,404 5,954 64,458 8.5% 1.7%
Navajo 232,220 31,159 158,173 16.5% 4.8%
Oklahoma City 459,386 59,794 394,593 13.2% 5.0%
Phoenix 166,656 23,206 142,568 14.0% 4.2%
Portland 106,834 7,317 98,806 6.9% 2.4%
Tucson 24,910 2,727 22,030 11.0% 7.1%
TOTAL 2,146,454 188,783 1,804,624 9.5% 3.3%

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

Source: Indian Health Service (

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