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Cases in the Y-K Delta drop, but continue to be significantly higher than state and national averages

Katie Basile
A registered nurse on the Yukon-Kuskokwim Health Corporation COVID-19 Response Team holds up a swab and tests tube at the airport COVID-19 test site on October 29, 2020 in Bethel, Alaska.

The Yukon-Kuskokwim Health Corporation reported 230 new COVID-19 cases in the region from Oct. 18 to Oct. 24. YKHC also reported three new hospitalizations in-region, one medevac, and the deaths of three residents in their 60s due to the virus during this one week period.

There were 161 fewer cases reported this week than last week. This is a 41% decrease in cases in the region compared to the previous week. Last week there were 391 new cases, 11 hospitalizations in-region, one medevac, and two deaths.

The region’s cases are much higher than both those of the state and nation, and have been over the course of the pandemic. Currently, the Y-K Delta’s COVID-19 case rate is more than six times higher than the national case rate and 1.2 times higher than the state’s. Last week, the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services announced 4,817 new COVID-19 cases statewide. During that time, the Y-K Delta made up 20.9% of the state’s new cases.

From Oct. 4 to Oct. 10, the region experienced its third highest seven-day case count for the entirety of the pandemic. The two highest seven-day case counts occurred between Nov. 23 and Dec. 6, 2020. During this time, the region’s cases were three times higher than the state’s cases and five times higher than the national numbers.

In alphabetical order by community, over the past week YKHC announced 21 cases in Akiachak, 19 in Alakanuk, three in Aniak, 20 in Atmautluak, 27 in Bethel, five in Chevak, one in Eek, five in Emmonak, two in Hooper Bay, 29 in Kasigluk, two in Kipnuk, six in Kongiganak, two in Kotlik, five in Kwethluk, two Kwigillingok, 12 in Marshall, three in Mekoryuk, three in Napakiak, 11 in Newtok, 12 in Nunapitchuk, 10 in Pilot Station, two in Quinhagak, 11 in Russian Mission, two in Scammon Bay, five in Toksook Bay, one in Tuluksak, two in Tuntutuliak, two in Tununak and 34 in unnamed Y-K Delta Villages.

Across the Y-K Delta, 14,638 individuals, or 77% of the eligible population, are fully vaccinated against the virus, according to state data.

How does the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta compare to state and national trends?

Per capita, the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta is reporting more COVID-19 cases on average than the state and nation. From Oct. 18 to Oct. 24, YKHC announced an average of 34.3 new COVID-19 cases each day. Per 100,000 people in the region, about 796.5 developed COVID-19 in the last seven days. In the same time period, the state announced 660.9 new cases per 100,000 people across Alaska, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced 147.9 cases per 100,000 people across the U.S..

The Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta has a higher vaccination rate than both the state of Alaska and the United States. So far, 14,638 people in the region have been fully vaccinated against the virus. The DHSS calculates that makes up 77.1% of the eligible population, compared to 59.9% of eligible Alaskans who’ve been vaccinated and 66.8% of eligible Americans.

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