Community spread of COVID-19 is occurring in Quinhagak, according to the Yukon-Kuskokwim Health Corporation. YKHC announced the news on Oct. 3 in a joint press release signed by Native Village of Kwinhagak Tribal Administrator Ferdinand Cleveland Jr. and City of Quinhagak Mayor Jerilyn Kelly.
YKHC said that evidence of community spread in Quinhagak became clear on Oct. 3 after three people in the village, whose cases could not be linked to travel, tested positive for COVID-19. The health corporation is continuing to investigate the cases.
The community entered a lockdown on Sept. 29 after confirming multiple cases of COVID-19. The lockdown forced the closure of the tribal and city offices, moved the school to remote learning, and came with a request for people to stay home. Immediately following the news of community spread, the Native Village of Kwinhagak posted to their Facebook page that the village will remain in lockdown until Oct. 17.
“We ask everyone to stay at home, do not visit, and make no crowds of any sort,” the post read. “All public buildings: NVK, City, Qanirtuuq, and the school are closed to the public. Please explain to your children what is happening, and make sure they do not play with other kids. There are a lot of high risk people in our village, and we must do everything we can to protect them. Wear masks when needed, and wash your hands regularly.”
YKHC urges everyone to take all known protective measures against the virus and to get a flu shot.
Quinhagak is the fourth community in the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta where community spread of COVID-19 has occurred. Community spread of the virus is ongoing in Bethel and Nunapitchuk. Napaskiak experienced community spread in late summer.
The region currently has 19 active cases of COVID-19. YKHC has announced 162 cases since the pandemic began.