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Revised visitor/escort policy and new recommendations for community precautions

YKHC revises visitor and escort policy amidst COVID-19
In response to the widespread nature of the COVID-19 pandemic in the YK Delta and the increased risk of community-based transmission throughout the region, YKHC is revising its visitor and escort policy to protect the health and safety of our patients, staff, and the public who access our facilities for services.

Effective immediately, the revised policy includes:

  • General visitation to the YKHC patients or facilities remains suspended.
  • Escorts for elderly patients will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis.
    • In general, if a patient is able to access medical appointments on their own, an escort will not be allowed.
    • If a patient is blind, has dementia, or another type of debilitating disease, the individual will be allowed one escort. These determinations will be made by medical staff upon reviewing the patient’s condition prior to travel.
  • One parent/guardian escort will be allowed for minor patients.
  • Escorts for and visitation with end-of-life patients will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis.
    • In certain conditions where family members are allowed to visit, the family must remain in the patient’s hospital room at all times.

Under all circumstances where escorts or visitors are allowed to accompany or visit a patient, the individual must remain in the patient’s room at all times. The purpose of the revised policy is to prevent inadvertent community-based exposure to COVID-19 that result in community clusters and outbreaks.

Although difficult, we would like to thank our customers for understanding YKHC’s goal to further protect you and your loved ones during this uncertain time.

YKHC will recommend lockdown in all villages following one confirmed COVID-19 case 
Because the YK Delta has some of the highest rates of COVID-19 in the country and the virus can spread quickly in our small communities, YKHC will be recommending all villages enact a “lockdown” or “shelter-in-place” for a period of time following one confirmed COVID-19 case in a community.

Lockdown can mean something different from community to community, but at a minimum it should include:

  • Limit person-to-person interaction to only the members of your household.
  • When performing essential errands – such as going to the post office, clinic, or store –  a mask that covers the mouth and nose should be worn at all times. YKHC further recommends these errands be performed by only one member of a household.
  • Limit the number of individuals who can enter public spaces (such as the store, washeteria, post office) to less than six at a time.  
  • Consider a curfew and close playgrounds, or other areas where kids may congregate.

When conditions allow, YKHC will work with Tribal and city leadership to ensure necessary medical provider travel to village clinics continues during lockdowns when appropriate.

A reminder that villages cannot rely on just one COVID-19 precaution, like travel restrictions, to protect your community. Doing so will not be enough to prevent an outbreak in your village. Strict adherence to all recommended guidance is essential to preventing a COVID-19 outbreak in your community.

Precautions to use at all times include:

  • Avoid hosting or attending gatherings of any kind
  • 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 and quarantine at home for 14 days upon return
  • 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
  • Frequently disinfect high-touch surfaces in your home.

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