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Posted: October 18, 2021

ihscovid19The Indian Health Service has updated its coronavirus data, showing results through October 17, 2021.

According to the data, 263,357 tests have returned positive for COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus. That represents an increase of almost 1.2 percent from the 260,314 cases previously reported on October 13.

Altogether, 3,141,575 coronavirus tests have been administered within the IHS, the results show. That represents an increase of nearly 1 percent from four days 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 five 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, all 12 IHS areas are seeing high COVID-19 rates, marking yet another instance of surges across every region of Indian Country. The 📈 red graph symbol indicates the areas in which positivity rates are on the rise, with multiple symbols indicating notable increases:

Notably, the 7-day rolling average positivity for the Alaska Area has steadily grown in recent weeks. The region recorded its highest-ever rate with the release of data on October 6, with the rate from October 17 almost reaching it. Throughout most of the pandemic, the Alaska Area had seen the lowest rate of COVID-19 cases within the IHS.

Overall, 8.9 percent of IHS tests have been positive since the onset of the pandemic, the data shows. Meanwhile, the 7-day average stands at 10.2 percent following a long period of far lower rates in the spring of 2021.

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.

Beginning June 7, the IHS began updating its coronavirus data on a weekly basis. But as the number of COVID-19 cases grows again, the agency is updating results on Mondays and Thursdays. During the height of the pandemic throughout 2020 and the first half of 2021, results were provided every day.

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 October 17, 2021.

 
IHS Area
 
 
Tested
 
 
Positive
 
 
Negative
 
Cumulative
percent
positive
7-day rolling
average
positivity
Alaska 789,429 21,889 665,677 3.2% 11.2%
Albuquerque 115,506 9,058 85,447 9.6% 5.0%
Bemidji 216,790 15,760 199,988 7.3% 10.9%
Billings 124,041 9,096 111,256 7.6% 12.1%
California 125,143 12,542 107,567 10.4% 10.8%
Great Plains 181,993 16,535 164,836 9.1% 9.0%
Nashville 115,262 9,513 102,799 8.5% 5.3%
Navajo 330,494 37,708 239,819 13.6% 13.6%
Oklahoma City 717,825 88,714 625,012 12.4% 9.0%
Phoenix 218,201 27,503 189,597 12.7% 12.4%
Portland 166,016 11,648 153,708 7.0% 8.6%
Tucson 40,875 3,391 37,371 8.3% 12.6%
TOTAL 3,141,575 263,357 2,683,077 8.9% 10.2%

COVID-19 testing data is updated on Mondays and Thursdays.

Source: Indian Health Service (https://www.ihs.gov/coronavirus)
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