Earlier this month, the World Health Organization (WHO) announced an official name for the disease that is causing the current outbreak of coronavirus disease, called COVID-19. YKHC and other health systems have met weekly with officials from the State of Alaska and the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on COVID-19.
On March 12, state officials announced Alaska’s first case.
YKHC has been actively preparing. Emergency preparedness is core to our organization. We regularly assess and drill on our emergency preparedness internally and with community partners, including the State of Alaska.
In February, we held our first CEO COVID-19 Team meeting. It is a multidisciplinary meeting of facility leadership from across our health system to assess our COVID-19 readiness and to review the CDC’s most recent surveillance and guidance. It will continue on a weekly basis for the foreseeable future. The Team has and will continue to review and take necessary actions on readiness, including:
- the review of our infection prevention and control policies;
- training for healthcare personnel;
- process for rapid identification;
- isolation and placement of patients with confirmed or suspected COVID-19;
- personal protective equipment and other necessary supplies for both staff and patients;
- patient transport;
- hand hygiene;
- environmental cleaning;
- how we protect visitors and staff in our facilities;
- public service announcements; and
- continued monitoring and managing of COVID-19 if it arrives to the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta.
Although the global situation is changing daily, at the time of this publication, it is unlikely COVID-19 is in the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta. However, the CDC and other experts say the chances for community transmission in the US is increasing and therefore, YKHC must continue to be vigilant and prepared.
For the latest information and best guidance on how to protect you and your family from COVID-19, you are encouraged to go to the CDC website at http://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-nCoV/