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Y-K Delta Reaches 132 COVID-19 Cases

Registered Nurse Avelina Chung runs through protocol with a YKHC employee at the COVID-19 drive-thru test site on March 25, 2020 in Bethel, Alaska.
Katie Basile

The number of confirmed coronavirus cases announced by the Yukon-Kuskokwim Health Corporation rose to 132 over the weekend. Twenty-six of these cases are active, meaning that the infected have not recovered.

On Friday, Sept. 18, the health corporation announced a total of 12 new cases. Seven of those cases are in a regional village, where they are self-isolating and are close contacts of a previously known case. YKHC is not announcing the name of the village to protect their patients’ privacies. Also on Sept. 18, YKHC announced that a resident of another regional village and three Bethel residents tested positive while in Anchorage. These individuals have been in Anchorage during their infectious periods and are self-isolating there. That same day, YKHC announced that a person who is not a resident of the Y-K Delta tested positive while in Bethel.

On Saturday, Sept. 19, YKHC announced that another person who is not a regional resident tested positive while in Bethel. Lastly, on Sunday, Sept. 20, YKHC announced that a Bethel resident tested positive while in Bethel and is currently self-isolating.

The communities of Bethel and Nunapitchuak are the only two communities in the region with current evidence of community spread, according to YKHC.

YKHC urges everyone to remain vigilant and practice all known protective measures against COVID-19, including avoiding all non-essential travel, regularly washing hands, staying 6 feet away from non-household members, wearing a mask when in public, and disinfecting high-touch surfaces.

YKHC also urges everyone traveling into the region to get tested for the virus, for free, at the Bethel, Aniak, and St. Mary’s airports. Free testing is also offered at the Bethel hospital parking lot every Wednesday from noon to 4 p.m. No appointment is needed. Testing by appointment continues at the Bethel drive-thru testing tent on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday. Call 907-543-6949 to set an appointment.

Symptoms of COVID-19 include a fever, chills, cough, shortness of breath, diarrhea, and diminished sense of taste or smell. YKHC asks that anyone experiencing these symptoms not go to a village clinic or the Bethel emergency room. Instead, they should call the village clinic or Bethel hospital at 907-543-6949 so that a health care provider can assist them.

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