On Saturday, January 16, YKHC was notified the routine test of a patient-care employee at the Bethel Long-Term Care facility returned positive for COVID-19. There are currently 16 residents at the Long-Term Care facility.
Following the positive test result, all residents and staff on shift were tested and all results returned negative. Testing of all remaining staff continues. Adhering to CMS guidelines, YKHC will repeat facility-wide COVID-19 testing of all residents and staff every 3 days, until 14 days since the most recent positive has passed and testing shows no new positives. Once this occurs, YKHC will return to routine surveillance testing.
With Long-Term Care residents and employees included in Phase 1A distribution of COVID-19 vaccine, the risk of severe illness resulting from COVID-19 cases is much lower as all residents and employees who opted for vaccination received an initial dose in mid-December and a second dose the first week of January. Employees at the Long-Term Care facility, regardless of vaccination status, are currently required to undergo routine surveillance testing twice weekly.
“We continue to have staff test positive because unfortunately the city of Bethel continues to have some of the highest rates of COVID-19 in Alaska and the United States,” said YKHC President & CEO Dan Winkelman. “Beginning this Tuesday, anyone 16 and over is eligible for COVID-19 vaccination in Bethel. Let’s all do our part and get everyone vaccinated to protect yourself, your family, your neighbors and our most vulnerable at our Elder Home.”
The employee who originally tested positive is currently asymptomatic and self-isolating. A subsequent COVID-19 test result returned negative.