Arizona: 16 percent of COVID-19 deaths are Native Americans

A temporarily closed picnic area is covered with tape to prevent use Saturday, April 11, 2020, in Phoenix. Arizona's two most populous cities are imposing restrictions on use of their parks over the Easter weekend as they try to encourage social distancing to combat spread of the coronavirus. Officials say the Saturday and Sunday of Easter weekend are traditionally very busy days for city parks as families gather to celebrate. Phoenix parks remain open for walking but facilities such as restrooms and parking lots will be closed over the weekend and picnicking and grilling will be prohibited.(AP Photo/Matt York)

The Associated Press

Arizona releases demographic information on virus deaths

PHOENIX (AP) — Arizona began releasing more detailed demographic information Sunday about the spread of the coronavirus that suggest a heavy toll among the elderly, men and Native Americans.

Sunday the state released a data dashboard.

Health officials also released infection data by zip code along with the statewide availability of health care resources including ventilator breathing machines, as confirmed coronavirus infections across Arizona rose Sunday to 3,539 and deaths linked to the pandemic increased to 115.

Of the 115 known deaths from the virus, 78 were people aged 65 or older. Men accounted for 63 percent of the death toll.

The state has race and ethnicity data for about half of its coronavirus deaths. About 16 percent of those deaths were Native Americans. Native Americans account for less than 6 percent of the state's population.

COVID-19 infections have spread with ferocity on the Navajo Nation, which extends across portion of Arizona, New Mexico and Utah. A first-time weekend curfew was in place across the Navajo Nation to limit the virus' spread.

However the total number of Native Americans that have reported infection is 6 percent, roughly the same as the population.

Officials cautioned that a map of infection tallies by zip code should not be used to determine current risk of transmission because the statistics represent a two-month period in which patients may have already recovered and are no longer infectious.

The state also began publishing updates on statewide health care capacity and the current utilization of emergency room beds, inpatient beds, intensive care beds, and ventilators in hospitals.

"This is data we are monitoring closely as it shows us where we need to focus our efforts to increase capacity," the Department of Health Services said in a statement. "The information is now posted on our dashboard and demonstrates that right now, there is capacity within our health care system to handle an increase in COVID-19 hospitalizations."

At last count Sunday, there were 1,023 intensive care beds in use and 984 intensive care beds still available. The state had 365 ventilators in use and 1,174 available.

Comments (2)

This is so sad but not surprising. Across the country we're seeing the most vulnerable people being most affected by this virus. On the positive side, more labs are researching for a viable treatment every day and getting more funding. I hope this will soon help our under served communities.