On August 1, YKHC confirmed a positive COVID-19 case of a Bethel resident identified through testing of inbound passengers at the Bethel airport.
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. All close contacts have been identified and provided instructions for follow-up testing and advised on precautions to take.
While testing is a core public health strategy to detect, isolate and trace new cases, on any given day airport testing in Bethel consistently remains at 50-75% of arriving passengers who opt for free testing. “We continue to encourage all passengers, whether local residents or visitors, to agree to free COVID-19 testing at the Bethel airport,” said YKHC President & CEO Dan Winkelman. “I look forward to the day that 100% of Alaska Airlines’ passengers are tested when arriving to Bethel.
The pandemic and the public health risks it poses is not over. Additional cases emphasize the importance of continuing to practice all known protective measures. Protective measures include: avoid all non-essential travel, opt for free COVID-19 testing upon arrival at the Bethel, St. Mary’s, and Aniak airports when arriving from out-of-region, 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.
YKHC continues to offer free 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.
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.