YKHC strongly urges the public to avoid hosting or attending gatherings of any kind during the on-going COVID-19 pandemic. Because COVID-19 can be spread while an individual is asymptomatic or mildly symptomatic, individuals unaware they are infected with the highly-contagious virus can spread it to others easily at gatherings—resulting in what is known as a “superspreader” event. Superspreader events are when a single person infects a large number of other people, or when a gathering is linked to a large number of cases.
Contact tracing of YK Delta cases indicate people recently exposed to or infected with COVID-19 have continued to participate in several types of gatherings, including but not limited to:
- Birthday parties
- Going away parties
- Community BINGO and pull-tabs
- Baby showers and gender reveal parties
- Throw parties
- Community meetings or gatherings
- Dining in and socializing at restaurants
- In-person religious services
- Small, indoor and outdoor social gatherings of two or more families/friends
To date, 22 communities in the YK Delta have been affected by COVID-19, seeing 236 total cases and currently monitoring over 450 close contacts—numbers that continue to climb. Alaska and the YK Delta are experiencing record increases in the number of positive cases, so social interactions and gatherings with anyone who does not reside in your same household during this time puts the public’s health at risk. Since COVID-19 is a novel virus, we offer a stark reminder that we cannot predict when someone will have a mild infection or a serious infection that may result in hospitalization or could lead to death.
Although difficult, we all must do our part each day to prevent spread of COVID-19. YKHC again urges the public to strictly adhere to protective measures, including:
- Avoid hosting or attending gatherings with individuals outside your household
- Maintain physical distance from anyone not in your household
- Wear a mask in public
- Avoid non-essential travel
- Practice routine hand hygiene
Your actions may save the life of a friend, family member, or neighbor during this uncertain time.