For the first time, there are indications of community spread of the novel coronavirus occurring in the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta. The Yukon-Kuskokwim Health Corporation announced on June 25 that it “believes there is a strong likelihood of community spread” of COVID-19 occurring in Napaskiak. A resident of the village initially tested positive for the virus last week.
City and tribal leaders have implemented measures to reduce the spread of the virus. The Napaskiak Tribal Council and City of Napaskiak are requiring all residents to wear face coverings while in public. Residents can pick up masks at the Napaskiak village health clinic. Residents are also asked to shelter-in-place until Sunday, July 5. That means staying at home with just household members and leaving the house only for necessary trips, like medical reasons or grocery shopping.
A YKHC medical provider will be in Napaskiak from Friday, June 26 through Wednesday, July 1 to provide medical support, and to screen and test people showing symptoms of COVID-19. Residents who are not showing symptoms can get tested for the virus over the weekend. No appointment will be needed.
YKHC is offering free COVID-19 testing next week to anyone in Bethel who is concerned about possible exposure to the virus. The testing will be offered at the drive-thru testing site at the Bethel hospital on Wednesday, July 1 from noon to 4 p.m. No appointment or referral is necessary.
Although the state has reopened most of the economy, YKHC has continued to urge the public to follow basic precautions to keep the disease from spreading in the community: avoid non-essential travel, practice handwashing and social distancing, wear a mask in public, and frequently disinfect high-touch surfaces in their homes.
Symptoms of COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus, include fever, chills, cough, shortness of breath, diarrhea, and a diminished sense of taste or smell. Anyone who has these symptoms is asked to not go see a medical provider, but instead to call their village clinic or the Bethel hospital, at 907-543-6949.