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Posted: March 20, 2021

COVID-19 Indian Country IHS

The Indian Health Service has updated its coronavirus data, showing results through March 18, 2021.

According to the data, 189,045 tests have returned positive for COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus. That represents an increase of less than 1 percent from the 188,890 cases previously reported by the IHS.

Altogether, 2,156,914 coronavirus tests have been administered within the IHS through March 18, 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, 9.4 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 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 18, 2021.

IHS Area
positive *
7-day rolling
positivity *
Alaska 547,961 11,383 464,985 2.4% 0.8%
Albuquerque 90,421 8,056 62,209 11.5% 4.2%
Bemidji 146,949 10,285 133,143 7.2% 4.6%
Billings 95,379 7,329 84,759 8.0% 2.7%
California 74,023 7,692 62,664 10.9% 5.7%
Great Plains 136,084 14,005 121,566 10.3% 5.9%
Nashville 71,690 5,958 64,736 8.4% 2.3%
Navajo 233,091 31,197 158,815 16.4% 4.8%
Oklahoma City 461,783 59,856 396,902 13.1% 5.1%
Phoenix 167,039 23,223 142,959 14.0% 3.4%
Portland 107,394 7,332 99,539 6.9% 2.5%
Tucson 25,100 2,729 22,218 10.9% 2.4%
TOTAL 2,156,914 189,045 1,814,495 9.4% 3.0%

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

Source: Indian Health Service (

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