YKHC updates COVID-19 guidance for communities and individuals

The Yukon-Kuskokwim Health Corporation (YKHC) released new guidance today to help communities and individuals make decisions about safely resuming normal activities as COVID-19 cases decline in the YK Delta.

YKHC recommends people consider two key factors to determine how an activity can be done safely: the transmission rate of COVID-19 in the community and the vaccination status of the person.

If a community is experiencing high transmission, YKHC recommends the community go into lockdown. If a community is not in high transmission, vaccinated people can resume most activities they enjoyed prior to COVID-19 without wearing a mask. Vaccinated people should still wear masks while traveling and wherever required by law or regulation. People who are not vaccinated against COVID-19 should wear masks in most public settings and get vaccinated at their first opportunity.

The vaccine protects people from getting seriously ill and dying from COVID-19 and from spreading the virus to others, including elders and other vulnerable community members. All individuals over age 12 can sign up for the COVID-19 vaccine at https://tinyurl.com/y7reeyst or by calling 1-800-478-6599.

YKHC’s full guidance document, which is based on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s updated guidance, released May 13, can be found at https://ykhcmedia.sfo3.digitaloceanspaces.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/05/08154517/051721-community-guidance.pdf. YKHC expects to release new guidance for schools by the end of July.

YKHC also announced that beginning Friday, May 21, it will report vaccination rates as a percentage of the total population, rather than the eligible population, that has received a COVID-19 vaccine.

“With more age groups eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine, the percentage of the total population that has been vaccinated is a meaningful indicator for communities,” said YKHC’s Chief of Staff Dr. Ellen Hodges. “We are seeing that as more of a village’s total population gets the vaccine, the number of positive COVID-19 cases in that village tends to decrease.”

Vaccination rates by village are published Friday afternoons on the COVID-19 dashboard at https://www.ykhc.org/covid-19/ and in YKHC’s Situational Report, which can be found at https://www.ykhc.org/covid-19/situation-reports/.