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The first omicron case has been confirmed in the Y-K Delta

YKHC health officials are encouraging everyone to wear masks, and to get vaccinated and boosted against COVID-19.
Katie Basile
/
KYUK
YKHC health officials are encouraging everyone to wear masks, and to get vaccinated and boosted against COVID-19.

The first case of the omicron variant has been confirmed in the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta. Yukon-Kuskokwim Health Corporation Vice President of Communications Tiffany Zulkosky wrote in an email to KYUK that state epidemiologists reported on Jan. 7 that a COVID-19 test from the Bethel Census Area tested positive for omicron.

Earlier that day, YKHC had issued a statement saying that it believed omicron was spreading within the region. This belief followed a recent spike in cases combined with contact tracing linking many of those cases to out-of-region travel where omicron is the dominant variant.

Meanwhile, cases across the state also have recently spiked, with the majority of tests being screened by a state lab containing markers indicating the omicron variant.

YKHC has been warning of omicron entering the region for weeks. Local health officials are encouraging everyone to wear masks. They are also encouraging people to get vaccinated and boosted against the virus to protect themselves, and to prevent the hospital system from becoming overwhelmed with cases.

Anna Rose MacArthur is the KYUK News Director. She has worked at KYUK since 2015 and previously worked at KNOM in Nome, Alaska.
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