Eighth Person In Y-K Delta Dies From COVID-19; Hospitalizations Climb

Nov 16, 2020

A swab and tube for specimen collection in the lab at the Yukon-Kuskokwim Health Corporation in Bethel, Alaska.
Credit Katie Basile / KYUK

Deaths and hospitalizations continue to climb in the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta as COVID-19 cases surge in the region and across the state. The eighth person in the region died from complications with the virus on Nov. 14. 

The individual was an Elder in their 80s, according to the Yukon-Kuskokwim Health Corporation. Also on Nov. 14, YKHC admitted the 16th and 17th patients with COVID-19 into the Bethel hospital.

The Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta has the highest case rate in the state, with 141.44 cases per 100,000 people, according to state data. The next-highest case rate is in Anchorage, where there are 91.71 cases per 100,000 people.

On Nov. 14, more cases were reported in Alaska than in any previous day during the pandemic at 747 cases. On Nov. 15, the state reported the second highest number of cases recorded in Alaska at 654 cases. Alaska Public Media reports that state epidemiologists warn that the true case counts could be 25% to 50% higher because of backlogged case reports.

Virus transmission rates are at an all-time high across the state, and testing is not keeping up with transmission. That means that there are many people who have the virus who have not tested positive for it and may not be showing symptoms, but are able to pass it on to others. For the sixth week in a row, more cases were reported in Alaskans than any previous week. Every region in Alaska has entered “high risk” status.  

YKHC encourages everyone to get tested for the virus. Anyone can receive a free test, without an appointment, in the Bethel drive-thru testing site Monday through Friday from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. Testing also continues by appointment. To schedule an appointment in Bethel, call 543-6949. Outside Bethel, call your local village clinic.

There are currently 385 active COVID cases in the region. YKHC has announced 1,481 cases since March.