Indian country starts new year with rise in COVID-19 cases
Thursday, January 6, 2022
By Acee Agoyo
Tribal communities across the country are again seeing an explosion of COVID-19[female[feminine cases after the busy festive season and as a new highly contagious variant is shaking up Indian country. Some tribes are re-imposing lockdowns, the likes of which have not been seen since the start of the coronavirus pandemic nearly two years ago. Others warn of negative impacts on their health care system due to the Omicron variant which is spreading rapidly in the United States. “Of course you know that the Omicron variant nationwide has overtaken the Delta variant”, President Jonathan Nose from Navajo Nation said during a COVID-19 town hall on Tuesday. “It was just our time, I guess, that Omicron was here,” Nose said of the greatest reserve in the countryside.
COVID-19 cases spiked in Indian country after the Christmas holidays, according to data from the Indian Health Service.
— indianz.com (@indianz) January 6, 2022
On December 25, 2021, the 7-day rate was 9.1%. This means the IHS has seen a 138% increase in COVID-19 cases since Christmas, based on rolling average positivity data. Getting vaccinated remains one of the best ways to protect against COVID-19, according to public health officials. During a visit to an urban Indian supplier in Northern California in early December, Elizabeth Fowler, the Acting Director of IHS, said the agency is stepping up its efforts to remind and encourage people to complete their dosing series and get boosted as soon as possible. “We are doing everything we can to raise awareness of COVID-19 vaccine booster clinics and eligibility,” Fowler said during the Native American Health Center in Oakland on December 7. “IHS expects to reach over 300,000 patients at our direct care sites before the holidays.” “We need to get the word out to everyone who is eligible,” said Fowler, a citizen of the Comanche Nation who is the IHS’s top official.
Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in March 2020, American Indians and Alaska Natives have suffered disproportionately despite the U.S. government’s trust and conventional responsibility to provide health care to tribes and to their citizens. Infection rates, hospitalization rates and death rates have been highest among all racial and ethnic groups, according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data. American Indians and Alaska Natives, however, saw the the highest vaccination rates in the country since doses became more widely available in the spring of 2021. It wasn’t until recently, around November 2021, that the vaccination rate for Asians began to exceed that for Indigenous people, according to CDC data. But the natives seem to have failed to keep up when it comes to receiving a booster dose for the COVID-19 vaccine. According to CDC data, American Indians and Alaska Natives actually lag behind most other racial and ethnic groups when it comes to receiving another blow. As of Thursday, 58.9% of American Indians and Alaska Natives had received a booster, the data showed. Only Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders had a lower rate, 53.3%. All adults over the age of 18 are eligible for boosters, IHS Director Fowler said last month. The extra fire may help protect against the fast-spreading Omicron and Delta variants, health officials say. “Many IHS sites send letters, postcards and flyers explaining recall eligibility to patients and informing them of their eligibility,” said Fowler in California, where the 7-day positivity rate is highest in the world. within the IHS from Wednesday. Amid the nationwide outbreak surrounding the Omicron variant, public health officials point out that a surge in cases can easily overwhelm healthcare systems. As with the Delta variant, most infections occur in those who have not been vaccinated against the coronavirus. “The Omicron variant, so far, appears to be less severe than the Delta,” Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and chief medical adviser to President Joe Biden, said during a briefing. ‘a White House press briefing Wednesday. “But remember the caveat: the rapid spread in the community is seeing more children hospitalized – again, mostly among the unvaccinated.” As of January 3, more than 2 million doses of the three COVID-19 vaccines licensed in the United States have been administered by IHS, which consists of facilities operated directly by the agency, by tribes and by Indian suppliers. urban. The figures cover each IHS location in the lower 48 states. Facilities in Alaska have elected to receive their vaccine doses through the state system.
Note: Thumbnail photo of Navajo Nation Headquarters in Window Rock, Arizona by Office of the Navajo Nation President and Vice President
COVID-19 cases by IHS area
Data comes from IHS facilities, tribal and urban Indian organizations, although reporting by tribal and urban programs is voluntary. Data reflects cases reported to IHS up to 11:59 p.m. on January 5, 2022.
7 day rollover
|Oklahoma City||837 450||101,555||723,556||12.3%||25.8%|
COVID-19 test data is updated on Mondays and Thursdays.
Source: Indian Health Service (https://www.ihs.gov/coronavirus)