Through screening and COVID-19 testing of inbound passengers at the Bethel airport, YKHC identified a second positive COVID-19 case in the YK Delta. YKHC received and confirmed the positive result on May 15. The individual who tested positive traveled from Anchorage to Bethel, continuing same-day travel to an outlying village. YKHC is not releasing the name of the village.
The person is currently self-isolating and YKHC is working with the State of Alaska Section of Epidemiology and local government officials to ensure precautions are taken to protect people they may have been in close contact with.
Prior to this release, clinic staff in the affected village notfied community members of the case. Long before any COVID-19 cases were identified in the YK Delta, YKHC developed a plan to respond to any positive cases within service area villages. A response team is traveling to the village today to provide screening and rapid testing.
On April 23, YKHC began offering COVID-19 testing for all passengers arriving into Bethel from Anchorage. The individual who tested positive opted for testing at the Bethel airport and was asymptomatic at the time of testing. Typically, more than half of passengers arriving in Bethel from Anchorage refuse to be tested. This case highlights the urgent need for all passengers to be tested.
This second case highlights the importance of regular handwashing and universal masking. Additionally, you can help protect your community by practicing social distancing, regularly disinfecting high-touch surfaces in your home and quarantining.
YKHC has been operating under an Incident Command System (ICS) since March 18. The ICS is a management system designed to enable effective and efficient company-wide incident management by integrating a combination of personnel, procedures, resources, and communications operating within a common organizational structure. The ICS is making all decisions related to COVID-19 response and it will be active until further notice.
YKHC is hosting a biweekly call for our tribal councils to receive updates regarding our COVID-19 response. The next call is Thursday, May 21. Tribes who not already attending these calls can email firstname.lastname@example.org to receive call-in information.
Symptoms of COVID-19 include a fever, cough and shortness of breath. 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.