On Monday, June 15, YKHC tested an individual in Bethel, in accordance with Health Mandate 15, and the rapid test result returned as positive. The individual resides in a YKHC service area village, but was in Bethel at the time of testing. To protect patient privacy, YKHC is not releasing the name of the village the person resides in.
Later on June 15, the individual was tested a second time using another in-house lab analyzer. This analyzer uses a higher standard of viral detection than the rapid test. The sample provided did not meet the level of detection and the result returned as negative. This second test returning negative does not mean the person was completely free of the virus, it only means the sample did not meet the level required for the second test to detect the virus.
Per YKHC protocol, the individual was tested a third time using a test that will be processed and confirmed by the State Public Health lab and results will be known in 5-7 days. YKHC treats every COVID-19 positive test result as a true positive, because the risk of not doing so is too high.
The individual is currently self-isolating in Bethel and YKHC is working with the State of Alaska Section of Epidemiology to conduct contact tracing, follow-up testing, and ensure precautions are taken to protect people the individual may have been in close contact with.
Working closely with the local tribe and city government, YKHC is sending a village rapid response team to the affected village later today. The team will follow up with close contacts, provide widespread testing and offer medical support.
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. YKHC urges the public to continue practicing all known protective measures, which helps to prevent spread of the novel coronavirus. Protective measures 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.