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COVID-19 Precautions at YKHC

At YKHC, the health of our customers, the communities we serve, and our staff come first. Whether in our Bethel hospital or one of our village clinics, during this time of uncertainty, we are taking every precaution to protect the well-being and safety of those who visit our facilities. Which is why YKHC began preparing for COVID-19 in February, well before a positive case reached Alaska or our service area.

As health providers resume routine procedures, YKHC is moving forward diligently and cautiously, remaining vigilant of COVID-19. We would like to take a moment to highlight the safety measures we have implemented across our health system with you and your loved ones in mind.

Precautions we are taking within YKHC Facilities
Whether scheduling or arriving for an in-person appointment, rest assured that your health is our number one priority. You can expect the following when you schedule an in-person appointment at YKHC:

  • We are conducting symptoms and exposure-risk screenings for all patients during scheduling, upon arrival to our facility, and during registration for an appointment.
  • We have implemented social distancing best-practices within our facilities.
      • In our Bethel hospital, blue tape markings note safe distances from reception desks.
      • Waiting area furniture has been re-arranged to encourage non-congregate seating.
      • We created a separate waiting area in the hospital for expectant mothers.
      • Patients with any respiratory symptoms are taken into an isolated area of the outpatient clinic, away from the general public.
  • We have enhanced our existing cleaning procedures.
      • We increased the frequency of disinfecting high-traffic and frequently touched surfaces.
      • We increased inspection and chemical swab testing after cleaning.
      • After every patient, we are deep cleaning each room, including use of chemical disinfectants and additional cleaning procedures.

Employee Health Protocols
To ensure our providers are healthy as they take care of you, we have enacted several rigorous employee health protocols. Some of these include:

  • All employees who have traveled out-of-region, must complete a 14-day quarantine upon return. During this quarantine, they must take and record their temperature twice a day.
  • All employees entering the hospital are receiving screening for respiratory symptoms.
  • All staff, including those in non-patient care positions, are required to wear a mask at all times while in YKHC facilities.
  • All providers traveling to our villages receive enhanced screening and testing.
      • All staff are tested before any village travel.
      • YKHC is partnering with Tribes and cities in our service area to understand what local guidance is in place for incoming travelers.

Accessible Testing to Patients and the Public
Recognizing that widespread testing is one of the few ways to find and reduce the spread of this contagious virus, YKHC has put a widespread testing strategy in place. This includes:

  • Upon arrival of Anchorage-Bethel flights, YKHC staff provide symptom screenings and on-site testing for arriving passengers at the Bethel airport.
  • We continue to test individuals complaining of COVID-19 related symptoms in Bethel and across the region, including testing in over 30 villages.
  • We are testing patients 48 hours prior to routine procedures if the appointment poses a higher risk of exposure (such as a dental appointment that may require a filling or other aerosol-generating procedure).
      • Village-based patients will be tested on-site prior to routine procedures if circumstances allow. If on-site tests are not available, YKHC providers will only perform care that does not risk spread or exposure of COVID-19.
  • All patients admitted to the hospital, including expectant mothers, are tested.

YKHC is here for you and your family
We know COVID-19 is worrisome for many, but YKHC is making every effort to keep our customers and the communities we serve safe. In addition to increased safety measures in our facilities, we are also offering outpatient medial appointments through telehealth. 

To schedule a telehealth appointment, call 543-6442, or visit https://www.ykhc.org/telehealth/ for more information.