Community spread of COVID-19 is occurring in Toksook Bay, according to the Yukon-Kuskokwim Health Corporation. YKHC announced the news jointly with the Nunakauyarmiut Tribe on Oct. 16, following three recent COVID-19 cases in Toksook Bay that cannot be linked to travel.
Tribal Administrator Robert Pitka said that the community went into lockdown on Thursday, Oct. 15 after the first case in the village.
“That means no visiting. Organizations like post office, the stores have to limit the number of people,” Pitka said. “Unauthorized travel is not permitted.”
Pitka said that the tribe has advised the Lower Kuskokwim School District to move to remote learning.
The news of community spread of COVID-19 in Toksook Bay arrived on the same day that YKHC announced that there is no longer evidence of community spread in Nunapitchuk. Toksook Bay is the fifth community in the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta where community spread has occurred. Napaskiak experienced sporadic community spread earlier this year, and community spread is ongoing in Bethel and Quinhagak.
YKHC’s press release states, “Now, more than ever, it is essential the public practice protective measures, which include: wear a mask when in public, keep social circles very small and remain physically distant (more than six feet) from anyone who does not reside in your household, avoid all non-essential travel, opt for free COVID-19 testing upon arrival at the Bethel, St. Mary’s, and Aniak airports when arriving from out-of-region, practice regular handwashing, and frequently disinfect high-touch surfaces in your home. It takes a collective effort, as a community, to stop the transmission of this highly contagious virus.”