The Yukon-Kuskokwim Health Corporation announced two more positive coronavirus cases today. Both people tested positive at the Bethel airport, and neither are Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta residents. But one of the people who tested positive temporarily lives in a village that YKHC serves.

Greg Kim

On July 27, the Yukon-Kuskokwim Health Corporation announced its 30th coronavirus case related to the region. A resident of a village that YKHC services tested positive while in Anchorage, and returned to their community before the test result came back.

On July 28, Bethel City Council will consider two resolutions: one for a mask policy, and another for limited curbside alcohol sales.
Dean Swope / KYUK

Bethel City Council is considering new rules to prevent the COVID-19 pandemic from spreading in the city. In its July 28 regular meeting, city council will look at a resolution urging people to wear face masks in public spaces, and another resolution to limit alcohol sales. 

Katie Basile / KYUK

Despite Mertarvik residents reporting numerous health improvements since moving from Newtok, the new village also presents some significant health risks. Mertarvik has no commercial airport, and medevac planes have trouble landing on the small, temporary runway. There have already been deaths in the new village that some say could have been prevented. 

Dean Swope / KYUK

Concern about the coronavirus is delaying the start of school by a couple of weeks. The new start date is Aug. 24. Lower Kuskokwim School District Superintendent Kimberly Hankins said that the district is requiring all teachers flying into the region to be tested for COVID-19 at the airport, and self-quarantine for two weeks before taking on classroom duties. 

Help is coming to the 538 Bethel businesses hurt in the pandemic in the form of $1 million in CARES Act funding from the city, but the businesses will have to act fast. Michelle DeWitt, the executive director of Bethel Community Services Foundation, the organization managing the funding in the form of grants, says that the deadline for applications is Aug. 10.

Not Enough Yukon Kings Swim To Canada

Jul 28, 2020
Katie Basile

The number of king salmon on the Yukon River this summer has gone from bad to worse. 

Silver salmon fills the bottom of a boat during a subsistence opening in August 2016 near Bethel.
Katie Basile / KYUK

The Kuskokwim Bay commercial fishery has been operating for nearly a month. It moved to 12-hour openings every other day, beginning last week.

A COVID-19 test sample is collected from the drive-thru test site run by the Yukon-Kuskokwim Health Corporation on April 14, 2020 in Bethel, Alaska.
Katie Basile / KYUK

It’s a sad day for the region; the first person in Bethel has died of COVID-19. The same person was also the first person in the region to be hospitalized and medevaced for the virus. The person was not a resident of the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta.

The Long House Hotel in Bethel, Alaska is one of the locations where the City of Bethel is housing travelers coming from Anchorage who layover in Bethel during the coronavirus pandemic.
Anna Rose MacArthur / KYUK

There is no evidence of community spread of the coronavirus in Bethel, and the City of Bethel wants to keep it that way. To do that, the city is offering free lodging, food, and transportation to passengers who travel from Anchorage and layover in Bethel.