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YKHC Suspends All Out-of-Region Business Travel

Last night, Dr. Anne Zink, Alaska’s chief medical officer, confirmed at Governor Dunleavy’s press conference that community spread of COVID-19 is happening in multiple locations in the state, including Anchorage. Today, Dan Winkelman, President & CEO, said, “To protect the health of our customers, employees and communities and to utilize every means necessary to prevent COVID-19 from arriving to the YK Delta, YKHC is suspending all out-of-region business travel for its 1,400+ employees, effective immediately.” This also supports and aligns with the efforts taken by many tribes in the YK Delta that have recently implemented travel restrictions for their villages to prevent the arrival of COVID-19. 

This is also in addition to YKHC’s:

  • February 4 notification to employees, customers and communities that YKHC was meeting weekly with senior officials of the State of Alaska and the US Centers for Disease Control & Prevention on COVID-19; 
  • February 25 notification and guidance given to employees by Dan Winkelman, President & CEO, on the creation of YKHC’s CEO COVID-19 Team of senior leaders; 
  • March 2 implementation of protective measures at YKHC’s Elder Home and numerous other Elder Home actions taken thereafter;
  • March 9 suspension of YKHC out-of-state business travel;
  • March 18 implementation of YKHC’s Incident Command System;
  • March 18 implementation of social distancing company-wide; 
  • March 19 notification that all essential and non-essential personnel who are eligible for telecommuting and are able to work remotely, could begin working from home or other remote location to promote social distancing; and
  • Constant communication efforts with customers, employees, tribes, partners and communities via email, social media, www.ykhc.org , weekly teleconferences, YKHC’s monthly Messenger, radio interviews, public service announcements on KCUK, KEDI, KICY, KSKO, KYUK and numerous other actions.

YKHC employees returning from any travel out of state will be required to comply with Governor Dunleavy’s health mandate 10.1 that orders travelers to quarantine when entering Alaska from out of state.

Additionally, any employee who returns from travel outside of the YK Delta will be required to quarantine for 14 days before returning to work. This is more stringent than Governor Dunleavy’s mandate announced last night. 

This suspension of out-of-region business travel does not affect urgent medically-necessary patient travel. YKHC averages 300 emergent patients a month who travel commercially from YK Delta villages and Bethel to Anchorage for urgent care.

YKHC is providing regular updates on COVID-19 on our website, www.ykhc.org/covid-19.

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COVID-19: Call Before Seeking Care

If you have symptoms like a fever, cough or shortness of breath and have traveled out of the YK Delta in the past 14 days, do not go to your village clinic and do not go to the Emergency Room in Bethel. Instead, call your village clinic, or in Bethel, call 543-6949.