COVID-19 positivity rate has more than tripled in Indian country since December 26

With the new year comes a new wave of COVID across the Indian country and much of the country in general. Indian Health Service (IHS) Chief Medical Officer Dr Loretta Christensen wrote to Native News Online that all 12 service areas have seen “a significant increase” in positive COVID-19 cases in recent weeks . The positivity rate more than tripled from Boxing Day to the New Year, compared to the week before the holidays, according to IHS data.

As of Jan. 1, the seven-day average positivity rate was 17.6% across all IHS service areas, up from the previous week’s rate of 13.7%.

The vast majority of positive cases are attributed to the Omicron variant, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention.

“This increase is probably due to a combination of people meeting for the holidays and the transferability of the [O]micron variant is, ”Christensen wrote. “The CDC expects anyone with [O]micron infection can spread the virus to others, even if they are vaccinated or have no symptoms.

Self-reported data at IHS indicates red areas – or high positivity rates – in Oklahoma, Kansas, and the Navajo Nation.

Shawn Terry, the Secretary of Health for the Muscogee Nation in Oklahoma, told Native News Online that the Tribal Health Service is seeing an increase in tests administered and positive cases on the reservation.

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In the past two weeks, health facilities in the Oklahoma City area have reported 22,206 tests administered, with 3,154 positive results. That’s with more than half of the region’s population vaccinated.

“This week alone, our positivity has reached 32% within our limits,” said Terry. The tribe currently operates a monoclonal antibody infusion center, a treatment for high-risk COVID patients that can prevent the virus from entering a patient’s body cells and limit the amount of virus in their body. “The demand for treatment has increased exponentially over the past ten days,” said Terry.

Health officials are urging you to get vaccinated, boosted, wear a mask in public places, and stay home if you feel sick.

“The recent emergence of [O]The micron variant further underscored the importance of the immunizations, boosters and prevention efforts needed to protect against COVID-19, ”Christensen wrote. “These are important because we know that COVID-19 has had a disproportionate impact on the Native American and Native people of Alaska. We need everyone to do their part to protect themselves, their family, their elders and their community. “

If you have not yet been vaccinated or received your booster, you can find more information on where to do so. here.

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About the Author

Jenna kunze
Author: Jenna kunzeE-mail: This e-mail address is protected from spam. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


Jenna Kunze is a reporter for Native News Online and Tribal Business News. His signatures have been published in The Arctic Sounder, High Country News, Indian Country Today, Smithsonian Magazine and Anchorage Daily News. In 2020, she was one of 16 American journalists selected by the Pulitzer Center to cover the effects of climate change in the Arctic region of Alaska. Prior to that, she was a senior reporter for the Chilkat Valley News in Haines, Alaska. Kunze is based in New York.

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