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Local health care worker at Long Term Care tests positive for COVID-19

On October 9, YKHC confirmed a local health care worker at the YKHC Long Term Care (LTC) center tested positive for COVID-19. Sometime after the individual completed a shift at the facility, the individual was notified they were a household contact of a positive COVID-19 case. They immediately notified Long Term Care management, did not report to work, and were tested for COVID-19. The test result returned as positive. The individual is currently self-isolating.

Today YKHC is performing facility-wide COVID-19 testing of all residents and staff. This testing will be repeated every three days for a period of time to ensure all residents and staff are safe.

At the onset of and throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, YKHC initiated several protective measures at the Long Term Care center to protect the safety and well-being of our residents and caregivers. In March, YKHC suspended visitation to the facility, began symptoms screening and temperature checks of all employees reporting to work, and all staff are required to wear masks at all times upon entry to the facility. YKHC has conducted routine weekly testing of all LTC staff since May and routine monthly testing of residents since June. Additionally, YKHC has ended communal dining, group/congregate activities, and screens residents for symptoms twice daily.

“We understand the concerns family members have for their loved ones at the Long Term Care center during the COVID-19 pandemic,” said YKHC Vice President of Hospital Services Jim Sweeney. “YKHC is doing and will continue to do everything in our power to implement and adhere to protocols that keep residents safe.”

“As COVID-19 cases across Alaska and the YK Delta increase and we see more communities in our region experience community spread, it is critical every YK Delta resident do what they can to stop the spread of this highly contagious disease,” said YKHC President & CEO Dan Winkelman. “This virus spreads in ways we cannot see. In order to protect the most vulnerable, each of us must do our part every day to isolate the virus—including avoiding gatherings, limiting social interactions to those within your household, avoiding non-essential travel, wearing a mask in public, and practicing hand hygiene frequently.”

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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.