Public Media for Alaska's Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations

YKHC announces third COVID-19-related death since the beginning of omicron surge

The Yukon-Kuskokwim Health Corporation is opening its doors to some elective and routine procedures following new state health mandates amidst the coronavirus epidemic.
Katie Basile

COVID-19 cases in the Y-K Delta have decreased for the fourth week in a row, but they still remain significantly higher than state and national case rates. From Feb. 28 to March 6, the Yukon-Kuskokwim Health Corporation (YKHC) announced 192 new cases. That's 42% fewer cases than last week’s 331. Over the same period of time, one patient was hospitalized in the region and another resident in their 60s died due to COVID-19-related symptoms. This is the first death due to COVID-19 in the region in a month, and the third since the omicron variant was confirmed in the Y-K Delta.

This drop in cases comes after the omicron wave hit the Y-K Delta in mid-January and infection rates hit record-breaking high numbers regionally and nationwide. COVID-19-related hospitalizations are also down across the state and in-region. One resident was hospitalized at YKHC last week. That’s a drop from the week before when three individuals were hospitalized. But despite a significant drop in regional cases, the Y-K Delta’s COVID-19 case rate remains high compared to other areas.

The Y-K Delta’s infection rate is three times higher than the state’s, and over seven times higher than the nation’s. Last week, the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services announced 1,447 new COVID-19 cases across Alaska. While the region makes up less than 4% of the state’s total population, the Y-K Delta reported 13% of the state’s new COVID-19 cases last week.

Over the past week, in alphabetical order by community, YKHC announced 10 cases in Akiachak, six in Aniak, two in Atmautluak, 27 in Bethel, five in Chefornak, 12 in Chevak, one in Crooked Creek, three in Eek, five in Emmonak, four in Grayling, eight in Hooper Bay, three in Kalskag, one in Kasigluk, six in Kipnuk, seven in Kongiganak, three in Kotlik, 19 in Kwethluk, two in Kwigillingok, six in Marshall, two in Mertarvik, seven in Mountain Village, one in Napaskiak, five in Newtok, one in Nunapitchuk, eight in Quinhagak, three in Russian Mission, four in Sleetmute, 21 in St. Mary’s, seven in Toksook Bay, one in Tuluksak, and one in Tuntutuliak.

The Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta case rate is significantly higher than both that of the state and the nation. Per 100,000 people over seven days, 662.1 developed COVID-19 in-region. That’s compared to the national case rate of 88.8 cases per 100,000, and the state case rate of 197.8 per 100,000 over the same period of time.

YKHC reports that 17,906 individuals, or 66.8% of the eligible population, are completely vaccinated against COVID-19. DHSS reports that 64% of all eligible Alaskans have completed a vaccine series. Nationwide, 69.3% of the population that is five or older is fully vaccinated, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Local health officials continue to urge wearing masks and getting vaccinated and boosted against the virus to protect your health, and to prevent the health care system from being overwhelmed by new cases. Anyone with questions about the virus is encouraged to visit the YKHC COVID-19 Dashboard or call the COVID-19 hotline at 543-6949.

Elyssa (she/her) is the Wellness Programming Producer and a second year Jesuit Volunteer/Americorps Member at KYUK. She loves dogs, listening to podcasts and playing ABBA to close out the Birthday Line.
Related Content