Delta variant identified in Y-K Delta, YKHC encourages all residents to get vaccinated

The first case of the highly-transmissible delta variant of the COVID-19 virus has been identified in the Yukon-Kuskokwim (YK) Delta.

The State of Alaska notified the Yukon-Kuskokwim Health Corporation (YKHC) about the case Monday, June 21. The individual tested positive in mid-June and is no longer infectious. Close contacts of the infected individual were identified and unvaccinated contacts were asked to test and quarantine.

The delta variant is more contagious than other strains of COVID-19 identified on the YK Delta so far. However, COVID-19 vaccines have been shown to offer protection against this variant.

“Everyone who is eligible should get vaccinated,” said YKHC Chief of Staff Dr. Ellen Hodges. “COVID-19 vaccines are safe and highly effective in protecting people from serious illness and death from this disease.” Slightly more than 50% of the population of the YK Delta have received a COVID-19 vaccine.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has identified the strain as a “variant of concern” and expects it to quickly become the dominant strain of COVID-19 in the United States.

“We are in a race against time to get people vaccinated,” Dr. Hodges said. “If everyone who can get vaccinated does, there will be fewer people in the community who can spread COVID-19. This will protect all of us, including kids under 12 who cannot get the vaccine yet.”

YK Delta residents can sign up themselves and their children for the COVID-19 vaccine online at https://tinyurl.com/8kb9vth or by calling 800-478-6599.

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COVID-19: Call Before Seeking Care

If you have symptoms like a fever, cough or shortness of breath, 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.