Wastewater Sampling Data
The graph displayed above highlights that Influenza A is once again decreasing. The level of SARS-CoV-2, the virus causing COVID-19, remains the same, slightly above average.
RSV levels remain very high! YKHC is providing monoclonal antibodies to infants age 0-19 months and vaccinations for pregnant people in their third trimester to help prevent hospitalizations from RSV. Please call your clinic or YKHC scheduling to arrange getting a vaccine.
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.
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.
In Bethel, YKHC offers several convenient ways for you and your family to receive flu shots.
- Visit the walk-in flu/COVID shot clinic at the Gathering Place inside the hospital, 1‑5 p.m., Tuesdays and Thursdays. No appointment required.
- 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.
With the start of the fall season, YKHC is also seeing an increase in new cases of COVID. Co-infections of influenza and COVID-19 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.