Late in the day on July 3, YKHC confirmed a positive COVID-19 case in Bethel of an individual who was identified through rapid testing, in accordance with Health Mandate 18. The individual is not a resident of Bethel, and therefore per State reporting protocols, will not be counted in the YK Delta positive case count.
Early in the morning of July 4, YKHC tested the individual 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. 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.
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.
While known close contacts of the positive case are minimal and YKHC is highly confident potential risk to the community is very low, YKHC treats every COVID-19 positive test result as a true positive, because the risk of not doing so is too high. All close contacts have been identified, provided instructions for follow-up testing, and advised on precautions to take.
YKHC continues to offer COVID-19 testing, without an appointment, at the Bethel drive-thru testing site every Wednesday from noon to 4 p.m. Testing also continues by appointment at the Bethel drive-thru testing site on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday, by calling 543-6949.
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 emphasizes the importance of continuing all known protective measures, such as: avoid all non-essential travel, opt for free COVID-19 testing upon arrival at the Bethel, Aniak, and St. Mary’s airports when arriving from out-of-region, practice regular hand hygiene, 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.