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Your Health is Our Priority

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, we are taking every precaution to protect the well-being and safety of those who visit our facilities. While we work hard to protect the region from further spread of the novel coronavirus, we need your help. As Alaska begins to relax health mandates, it’s important to remember that the pandemic is far from over. While YKHC began preparing for COVID-19 in February, well before a positive case was in our service area (or the state), the confirmed cases in our region highlight the importance of YK Delta residents continuing to practice protective measures. These protective measures include physical distancing and wearing a face covering when you are in public, regular handwashing, and regularly disinfecting high-touch surfaces in your home. YKHC is resuming routine, non-emergent appointments diligently and cautiously. Because of the precautions we’re taking, we hope you are assured it is safe to visit a YKHC facility or see a YKHC provider – in Bethel or the village. Your health is of the utmost importance to us, and it is important to maintain or improve your health during these uncertain times. Please reach out to schedule care if needed. 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 within YKHC Facilities

Here are some of the key precautionary changes we’ve made in the Bethel hospital that you can expect to experience when you schedule or arrive for an in-person appointment at YKHC:

Three layers of COVID-19 symptoms and exposure-risk screening

  • During scheduling
  • Upon arrival to our facility
  • During registration for an appointment

Best practice physical distancing measures

  • Rearrangement of furniture to encourage non-congregate seating
  • Isolation of patients with respiratory symptoms in a separate area of the facility
  • Separate waiting area for expectant mothers

Enhanced cleaning and disinfecting practices

  • Increased frequency of cleaning and disinfecting
  • Increased inspection and chemical swab testing of high-traffic areas
  • Additional disinfection procedures in treatment rooms between patients

Employee Health and Conduct

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 staff, including those in non-patient care positions, are required to wear a mask at all times while in YKHC facilities.

All employees entering the hospital are receiving screening for respiratory symptoms.

All employees who have traveled out-of-region, but have remained in state, must quarantine upon return and monitor temperature twice daily. Employees who offer direct patient care must also be tested twice for COVID-19 before returning to work.

All employees who have traveled out-of-state are required to be tested for COVID-19 upon returning to the Bethel airport. Employees will also be required to quarantine, monitor temperature twice daily, and complete a second test before returning to work.

All providers and staff traveling to our villages receive enhanced screening and COVID-19 testing.

YKHC is partnering with Tribes and cities in our service area to understand what local guidance is in place for incoming travelers.​

Testing for 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:

  • YKHC staff provide symptom screenings and on-site testing for passengers arriving from Anchorage at the Bethel, Aniak, and St. Mary’s airports.
  • We continue to test individuals complaining of COVID-19 related symptoms in Bethel and across the region, including testing in over 30 villages.
  • We have a rapid response team ready to respond to cases in any YKHC villages. This team provides testing, contact tracing and medical support.
  • 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 medical appointments through telehealth.

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