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YKHC is housing stranded patients in a temporary shelter

The Yukon-Kuskokwim Health Corporation created a temporary shelter to house patients stranded in Bethel due to weather.
Greg Kim
/
KYUK
The Yukon-Kuskokwim Health Corporation created a temporary shelter to house patients stranded in Bethel due to weather.

Inclement weather in recent days has grounded planes, stranding travelers in Bethel. The Yukon-Kuskokwim Health Corporation (YKHC) created a temporary shelter to house some of them over the weekend. As of Dec. 21, patients who had not been able to fly home remained in at YKHC.

YKHC Public Information Officer Mary Horgan said that dozens of people were in Bethel for medical appointments when the stormy weather struck. Other people became stuck in Bethel after traveling back from appointments in Anchorage.

Horgan said that some patients were able to stay with family in Bethel. YKHC was able to book other patients in Bethel hotels, but soon all the rooms were filled.

YKHC set up about 20 temporary beds in a hospital conference room. The health corporation is requiring COVID-19 mitigation measures such as masking, physical distancing, and sanitation.

Also because of dangerous weather, at about 1 p.m. on Dec. 17, YKHC closed its outpatient facilities, including its outpatient clinic, optometry clinic, and dental clinic. All outpatient units reopened Dec. 20.

YKHC will be closing many of its Bethel facilities in the coming days in observance of Traditional Chief’s Day and Christmas. YKHC offices, outpatient clinics, the pharmacy, and COVID-19 testing will close at noon on Wednesday, Dec. 22 and reopen the following Monday, Dec. 27. The emergency room and inpatient hospital will remain open.

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