Bethel City Council Considers Updates To Pandemic Response

Nov 24, 2020

Credit Christine Trudeau / KYUK

Before the Bethel City Council on Nov. 24 are minor updates to the city’s airport testing mandate. Some of the language is changed to refer to new state health orders. The existing requirements for testing and quarantining for people arriving in Bethel would remain the same.

The updated mandate notes that between July 26 and Nov. 24, the state’s COVID-19 case count has risen from 3,102 to 23,874. The death toll has increased from 22 to 99.

Not on the agenda is a lockdown mandate. On Nov. 16, the Yukon-Kuskokwim Health Corporation recommended that the entire Y-K Delta lock down for a month. Since then, many villages in the delta have enacted their own lockdown restrictions. On Oct. 27, the Bethel City Council passed a “hunker down” resolution, which asks, but does not mandate, that people stay home as much as possible. The Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta has the highest COVID-19 infection rate in Alaska.

Another item on the agenda would grant the city manager more budgetary discretion. The city manager can currently make purchases up to $5,000 without the council’s permission. The proposed ordinance would increase that limit to $12,500. The ordinance cites inflation as part of the reason for the change. The $5,000 figure has not been updated since 1983.