Late in the day on June 29, YKHC confirmed an additional COVID-19 case in a YKHC service area village. The individual is not a resident of the YK Delta, and therefore per State reporting protocols, will not be counted in the YK Delta positive case count. To protect patient privacy, YKHC is not releasing the name of the affected community.
The individual is currently self-isolating 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. Close contacts are defined as individuals who have been unmasked and within six feet of the known positive individual for more than 10-15 minutes. As of the time of this release, all close contacts have been identified, tested, and instructed to continue self-isolating for 14 days.
Contact tracing indicates there is high likelihood this is a travel-related case and risk of exposure within the community is very low. To achieve maximum benefit of identifying additional cases, if there was inadvertent exposure, YKHC recommends community-based response to offer widespread testing occur the week of July 6. Follow-up testing is recommended to occur 5-8 days from potential exposure, because that is the average amount of time for someone infected with COVID-19 to begin shedding the virus and return a more accurate test result.
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. This additional case emphasizes the importance of the public continuing the practice of all known protective measures. These measures help to prevent spread of the novel coronavirus. Protective measures include: avoiding all non-essential travel, opting for free COVID-19 testing upon arrival at the Bethel airport when someone has arrived from out-of-region, practicing regular handwashing, remaining physically distant (more than six feet) from anyone who does not reside in your same household, wearing a mask when in public, and frequently disinfecting 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.