My YKHealth

YKHC COVID-19 and Influenza Recommendations:

We strongly urge all residents ages 6 months or older to receive their 2023/2024 flu and COVID-19 shot. This annual vaccination can help protect you from the most serious effects of the flu and reduce the likelihood you will spread the disease to others in our community. The COVID-19 vaccine was updated this fall to more closely align with strains currently circulating in the region.

In Bethel, schedule a time to receive your shot by calling 907-543-6442. In villages, please contact your local clinic to make a flu and COVID shot appointment for you and your family.

Co-infections of influenza, RSV, and COVID-19 with other pathogens can lead to severe illness.  If you have a positive COVID-19 test, call 907-543-6949 or your local clinic for more information. There are highly effective COVID-19 treatments that can be administered within 5 days of symptom onset. Additional announcements will be made when the updated COVID-19 vaccine is available.

At-home COVID tests can be picked up at security desks at the hospital. In villages, schedule a test at your local clinic. Starting October 2, you can also order four free at-home COVID-19 tests at www.covid.gov/tests.

YKHC Office of Environmental Heath's Testing of Bethel Wastewater

When people are ill from a viral infection, they release bits of virus into the wastewater when they use the toilet or wash their hands. The YKHC Office of Environmental Health consistently collects and evaluates Bethel wastewater to detect SARS-CoV-2, Influenza A and B, and RSV using sophisticated genomic testing techniques at our wastewater lab in Bethel.

Bits of virus in the wastewater include genetic material known as RNA or DNA. Our lab uses the same type of equipment as the hospital to detect genetic material specific for a particular virus. When we have a positive wastewater test, we know that the virus is in our community. Higher concentrations of the genetic material suggest there are more people with the virus in the community.

Wastewater testing does not tell us who is sick with the virus, but it does help us recognize when a virus enters the community and whether infections are going up or down.

Respiratory Illness Surveillance

The graph above indicates that the levels of Influenza A, RSV, and SARS-CoV-2 trended downward for several weeks, but have recently leveled off. We did recently see an increase in RSV activity over the weekend, so all three respiratory viruses are still circulating in the community. If you have not received your updated vaccines this year, now is the time! Having these illnesses at the same time can result in severe illness.

In addition to the increase in RSV detected in the wastewater last week, we also saw an increase in RSV cases at the hospital. YKHC also offers monoclonal antibodies to infants aged 0-19 months and vaccines for pregnant individuals in their third trimester to prevent hospitalizations from RSV in infants. The RSV vaccine is also available for people 60 and older. Last year had several RSV outbreaks. To get vaccinated against RSV, Flu, or COVID-19, please contact your clinic or YKHC scheduling if you haven’t already this fall.

Annual vaccination can protect you against the most severe effects of the flu and reduce the chance of spreading the disease to others in our community. The COVID-19 and flu vaccines were updated this fall to better match the strains currently circulating in the region.

In Bethel, schedule a time to receive your shot by calling 907-543-6442. In villages, please contact your local clinic to make a flu and COVID shot appointment for you and your family.

If you have a positive COVID-19 test, call 907-543-6949 or your local clinic for more information. There are highly effective COVID-19 treatments that can be administered within 5 days of symptom onset. Additional announcements will be made when the updated COVID-19 vaccine is available.

At-home COVID tests can be picked up at security desks at the hospital. In villages, schedule a test at your local clinic. Starting October 2, you can also order four free at-home COVID-19 tests at www.covid.gov/tests.

Preventative Measures

Preventative Measures:

In addition to vaccination, here are other simple steps you can take to help prevent the spread of flu, COVID and other respiratory illnesses.

  • If you have flu-like symptoms like a cough, runny nose, or fevers, please stay home.
  • Avoid close contact with infants, elders, and high-risk individuals. If you cannot avoid contact, wear a mask.
  • Wash your hands frequently with warm soapy water.

 

We are here to support your health and well-being. Please schedule your flu shot and take precautions to protect yourself and our community from respiratory diseases this winter.