In consultation with the Alaska Section of Epidemiology on June 25, YKHC believes there is a strong likelihood that sporadic community spread of the novel coronavirus, or COVID-19, is occurring in the YK Delta village of Napaskiak. This joint advisory is issued by YKHC, the Napaskiak Tribal Council and City of Napaskiak to warn others we believe community spread may be occurring and so individuals can take appropriate measures to reduce exposure to or spread of the virus.
Following the advisement of State public health officials and YKHC, municipal and tribal leaders in Napaskiak have implemented several protective measures. Residents will be required to wear face coverings or masks in public when physical distancing from non-household members cannot be maintained. Masks are available and can be picked up from the YKHC Elena Alexie Memorial Clinic.
Residents of Napaskiak are also advised to remain in a community-wide shelter-in-place until July 5. This means local leaders are asking residents to isolate and remain at home, with just members of the same household, leaving only for medical necessity or critical needs like quick runs to the grocery store. If a resident must leave the household during this time, YKHC urges community members to limit the number of people who need to be in public. The Napaskiak Tribal Council also encourages residents to avoid gatherings during this time.
YKHC will be sending a provider to the Napaskiak Clinic tomorrow, Friday, June 26. The provider will remain in the community until Wednesday, July 1, and will be in the village to conduct COVID-19 screening and testing of symptomatic patients during the week. Residents who are asymptomatic, but would like to be tested for COVID-19 can do so at the clinic over the weekend. No appointment will be needed.
YKHC will begin offering COVID-19 testing to YK Delta residents, without an appointment, at the YKHC drive-through testing site in Bethel every Wednesday, from noon to 4:00 p.m., beginning July 1, 2020. Testing in village clinics continues and simply requires customers to call their local village clinic to be assisted.
Although the State of Alaska has eased restrictions on travel and moved to reopen Alaska’s economy, the pandemic and the public health risks it poses is not over. We do not know when someone will have a serious reaction to a COVID-19 infection, that requires hospitalization or could lead to death. Protective measures to prevent spread of the virus include: avoid all non-essential travel, practice regular handwashing, remain physically distant (more than six feet) from anyone who does not reside in your same household, wear a mask when in public, and frequently disinfect high-touch surfaces in your home.
Symptoms of COVID-19 include a fever, chills, cough, shortness of breath, diarrhea, and diminished sense of taste or smell. If you have these symptoms, do not go to your village clinic or to the emergency room in Bethel. Instead, call your village clinic or in Bethel call 543-6949 so a health care provider can assist you. Get the latest information on COVID-19 from YKHC at www.ykhc.org/covid-19.