Review of current COVID vaccines and guidelines

COVID infections in the YK Delta have increased significantly over the winter season compared to rates over the summer.

While the virus is not causing as many serious infections or hospitalizations as it was during the height of the pandemic, some individuals such as infants, elders, and individuals with weakened immune systems, are still at high risk of serious complications. In fact, COVID-19 continues to cause the majority of hospitalizations and death for respiratory illness in the United States. Among adults age 65 and older, only 40% received the updated COVID-19 vaccine as of January 19, 2024. Updated vaccines are available by contacting the hospital in Bethel or your local clinic.

Below is guidance from the CDC to help protect yourselves and others from this virus. To review stay on top of the most current guidelines, visit the CDC website.


  • The CDC recommends the 2023–2024 updated COVID-19 vaccines: Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, or Novavax, to protect against serious illness from COVID-19.
  • Individuals aged 5 years and older should receive 1 dose of an updated COVID-19 vaccine for protection against serious illness from COVID-19.
  • Children aged 6 months to 4 years require multiple doses of COVID-19 vaccines, including at least 1 dose of the updated vaccine, to be up to date.
  • People who are moderately or severely immunocompromised may receive additional doses of the updated COVID-19 vaccine.

If you are sick:

  • Treatments are available for those with COVID-19, especially if they are more likely to get very sick. These treatments can reduce the risk of hospitalization and death.
  • Treatment should be started within 5-7 days of symptom onset.
  • Other medications may help reduce symptoms and manage the illness.
  • Contact YKHC Public Health at 907-543-6949 or your local health clinic for treatment access. During weekends or holidays contact the ER or nurse triage line.

Preventing the spread of COVID:

  • If you have COVID-19, you can spread the virus. To prevent this, practice isolation, wear masks, and avoid contact with high-risk individuals.
  • Isolate at home for at least 5 days if you test positive for COVID-19.
  • You’re most infectious in the first 5 days.
  • End isolation after 5 days if symptoms are improving and you’ve been fever-free for 24 hours without medication. If symptoms persist, continue isolating until improvement.
  • Those with moderate illness, hospitalization history, or weakened immune systems should isolate through day 10.
  • Until day 11, avoid high-risk individuals, wear a high-quality mask indoors, and refrain from visiting places where mask-wearing is not possible.
  • Consider using antigen tests, with two sequential negative tests 48 hours apart, to remove your mask before day 10.
  • These recommendations apply regardless of COVID-19 hospital admission levels.

Testing Guidelines:

  • If exposed to COVID-19, follow CDC’s advice: wear a high-quality mask indoors for 10 days, test, and monitor for symptoms.
  • Test immediately if you have symptoms. Tests are available at the hospital security desks and in the village clinics.
  • An antigen test’s positive result is reliable, but a negative result may not be. If negative, take another antigen test after 48 hours.

Everyone is encouraged to follow the guidelines above to help reduce the amount of COVID in our region.