YKHC distributing N-95 masks to YK service area residents

YKHC is partnering with local tribal governments to distribute two, free N-95 masks to every resident in the YKHC service area. The masks, provided by the Indian Health Service (IHS), offer the highest level of protection and have been shown to reduce transmission of the virus that causes COVID-19.

In late February, YKHC received several small, initial shipments of the masks, also called N-95 respirators, and began sending them to villages. YKHC anticipates all communities will receive an initial delivery of masks by March 25. Local tribal governments will coordinate distribution to village residents.

Bethel residents can pick up masks between 12 and 3 p.m., Sunday, March 20, at the COVID-19 testing site in front of CHSB, across the street from the hospital. If the current supply of N-95 masks is distributed before the end of the event, YKHC will offer KN-95 masks. YKHC is developing additional opportunities for Bethel residents to receive masks and will share details on those plans when confirmed.

YKHC is grateful to the IHS for providing the masks and to local tribes for their assistance getting the masks to residents.

The CDC and YKHC remind people masks are an effective way to protect themselves and others in the community. When worn correctly so the mask forms a seal to the face, N-95 respirators help filter airborne particles, such as viruses, and can protect the person wearing them. People with symptoms, a positive test, or exposure to someone with COVID-19 should wear a mask. Immunocompromised individuals and people close to them can wear a mask for extra protection. For instructions on how to properly wear an N-95 mask, visit https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prevent-getting-sick/use-n95-respirator.html

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently released updated guidance on mask wearing in public places. YKHC is reviewing the revised recommendations and evaluating how this guidance might be best applied in our communities. We will share updated guidance for the YK Delta as soon as it is available.

YKHC also recommends people protect themselves against serious illness from COVID-19 by getting vaccinated and boosted. Everyone ages 5 and older should get vaccinated and most people ages 12 and older are eligible for a booster. To find out more or sign up, visit www.ykhc.org/vaccine or call your local clinic.

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If you have symptoms like a fever, cough or shortness of breath, do not go to your village clinic and do not go to the Emergency Room in Bethel. Instead, call your village clinic, or in Bethel, call 543-6949.

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