YKHC Elder's Home Worker Tests Positive For COVID-19

Oct 9, 2020

Credit Elyssa Loughlin / KYUK

A healthcare worker at the Bethel Elder’s Home tested positive for COVID-19. It’s the first reported case connected with the facility. The Yukon-Kuskokwim Health Corporation operates the Elder’s Home and received the positive test result on Oct. 9. 

The worker lives in Bethel and sought testing after a household member tested positive for COVID-19. The worker has not returned to work since their household member tested positive, and is self-isolating.

Fifteen patients currently live at the facility. The day YKHC got the news of the positive test, YKHC tested all residents and staff for COVID-19. It will repeat this testing “every three days for a period of time to ensure all residents and staff are safe,” according to a YKHC news release.

YKHC has been regularly testing staff and residents for the virus throughout the pandemic. In May, the health corporation began testing staff weekly. In June, it began testing residents monthly.

YKHC has also implemented a series of protective measures at the facility since the pandemic began. In March, YKHC suspended all visits to the Elder’s Home and required employees to wear masks at all times in the facility. Each employee is screened for symptoms, and has their temperature checked upon reporting to work. Staff screen residents for symptoms twice daily, and have ended group dining and other group activities. 

YKHC urges everyone to follow all known protective measures against COVID-19.

“As COVID-19 cases across Alaska and the Y-K Delta increase, and we see more communities in our region experience community spread, it is critical every Y-K Delta resident do what they can to stop the spread of this highly contagious disease,” YKHC President and CEO Dan Winkelman said in a news release. “This virus spreads in ways we cannot see. In order to protect the most vulnerable, each of us must do our part every day to isolate the virus, including avoiding gatherings, limiting social interactions to those within your household, avoiding non-essential travel, wearing a mask in public, and practicing hand hygiene frequently.”

YKHC has announced 209 cases of COVID-19 since the pandemic began. Fifty-nine of those cases are currently active, meaning that the individuals have not recovered.