On Tuesday, May 26, YKHC identified a third positive COVID-19 case in the YK Delta through a rapid test conducted in Bethel. That day the individual was tested a second time using a test that was processed by the State Public Health lab. Today, Friday, May 29, YKHC received results from the State, confirming the lab test returned as negative.
While YKHC is highly confident the rapid test provided a false positive, YKHC uses rapid testing when we believe it would make a difference in how we manage clinical response of a patient at that time. In other words, if the rapid test returns as positive, it allows us to urge quarantine or self-isolation immediately to reduce the risk of community spread. We act as every positive is a true positive, because the health risk to our communities of not doing so is too high. In this circumstance, it also allowed YKHC to deploy our village rapid response team out of an abundance of caution to conduct community-based response.
At YKHC, all rapid test results are sent to the State of Alaska lab for confirmation. Unfortunately, there is no option available nationally or globally to acquire immediate confirmatory testing of rapid results. Confirmatory lab testing generally requires a 3-5 day turnaround.
While we are working hard to protect the region from further spread of COVID-19 and keeping you informed on our efforts, we need your help. This global pandemic is far from over. We urge YK Delta residents to continue to practice protective measures, including: physical distancing, regular hand washing, wearing a face covering in public, regularly disinfecting surfaces in your home, and opting for free COVID-19 testing upon arrival at the Bethel airport when traveling from out-of-region.
Get the latest information on COVID-19 and local response at YKHC at www.ykhc.org/covid-19.