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Bethel is experiencing high levels of community transmission of COVID-19

Elyssa Loughlin
YKHC health aides distribute personal protective equipment and COVID-19 Antigen tests at Cama-i Dance Festival on March 26, 2022.

Across the region, YKHC announced 86 new cases of COVID-19, or a 12 percent increase in cases, from April 11 to April 17. Nearly half those cases were in Bethel, where cases rose from 26 to 40. That’s nearly twice as many cases as the week before.

According to YKHC’s Brian Lefferts, this is the second week in a row that Bethel has experienced widespread community transmission. For context, any time Bethel has more than seven cases in seven days, it meets the CDC criteria for high community transmission.

However, the region overall has a medium COVID community level. Community COVID levels are determined by the number of new hospitalizations compared to the number of new cases in the region. It evaluates YKHC’s available resources to care for COVID patients.

Over the past week, in alphabetical order by community, YKHC announced one case in Akiak, three in Alakanuk, one in Anvik, 46 in Bethel, one in Chevak, 10 in Emmonak, two in Kasigluk, one in Kongiganak, four in Kwigillingok, two in Mountain Village, seven in Nunapitchuk, one in St. Mary’s, three in Toksook Bay, one in Tuntutuliak, and six in unnamed Y-K Delta villages.

Per 100,000 people over seven days, 297 developed COVID-19 in-region. That’s compared to the national case rate of 74 cases per 100,000 and the state case rate of 185 per 100,000 over the same period of time.

YKHC reports that 18,357 individuals, or 69 percent of the eligible population, are completely vaccinated against COVID-19. The state DHSS reports that 64.6 percent of all eligible Alaskans have completed a vaccine series. Nationwide, 70.1 percent 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 hotline at 907-543-6949.

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.
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