Indianz.Com > COVID-19 > Indian Health Service (Department of Health and Human Services)
Posted: September 23, 2022

ihscovid19The Indian Health Service has updated its coronavirus data, showing results through September 21, 2022.

According to the data, 531,544 tests have returned positive for COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus.

On July 24, the IHS reached a milestone. According to the results, over a half-million IHS patients have tested positive for COVID-19 since the onset of the pandemic in Indian Country more than two years ago.

Based on the IHS service population of 2,562,290 from 2019, the figure means that 20.7 percent of American Indians and Alaska Natives have been positive for the coronavirus.

Based on the IHS user population of 1,662,834, nearly 32 percent have tested positive. The user population is defined as the number of American Indians and Alaska Natives who have lived within a service delivery area and have received health care at an IHS or tribal facility during the previous three years.

Altogether, 4,772,355 coronavirus tests have been administered within the IHS, the results show.

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 of 12 IHS areas. Two of them include the state of Arizona, indicating a disproportionate toll of COVID-19 in the state:

On January 19, the Oklahoma City Area overtook the Phoenix Area as the region with the second highest percentage of cumulative percent positive tests. But the two regions have virtually the same cumulative positivity rate as of September 21.

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 in the 12 areas of the IHS.

Overall, 11.8 percent of IHS tests have been positive since the onset of the pandemic, the data shows. Meanwhile, the 7-day positivity rate has been falling since reaching record highs over the summer of 2022. It now stands at 9.6 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.

Beginning June 7, 2021, 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 twice a week — usually on Mondays and Thursdays. Throughout 2020 and the first half of 2021, results were provided by the IHS 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 Sep 21, 2022.

IHS Area
7-day rolling
Alaska 1,106,342 55,137 904,809 5.7% 6.5%
Albuquerque 159,347 15,247 123,523 11.0% 4.2%
Bemidji 316,081 32,596 281,954 10.4% 17.9%
Billings 158,931 14,083 139,930 9.1% 4.1%
California 190,673 22,171 160,758 12.1% 11.6%
Great Plains 264,940 28,048 234,763 10.7% 14.6%
Nashville 191,385 21,018 160,195 11.6% 14.4%
Navajo 552,630 81,515 397,711 17.0% 10.8%
Oklahoma 1,179,688 181,783 986,758 15.6% 9.1%
Phoenix 323,528 49,238 271,731 15.3% 8.1%
Portland 245,962 21,344 224,017 8.7% 6.1%
Tucson 82,848 9,364 73,220 11.3% 11.1%
TOTAL 4,772,355 531,544 3,959,369 11.8% 9.6%

COVID-19 testing data is updated on Mondays and Thursdays by 5 pm ET.

Data Source: Indian Health Service (

Join the Conversation