YKHC Testing Asymptomatic Patients At Bethel Alaska Airlines Terminal

Passengers stepping off an Alaska Airlines flight can get tested for COVID-19 in the parking lot.
Credit Courtesy of the Yukon-Kuskokwim Health Corporation.

The Yukon-Kuskokwim Health Corporation is now offering voluntary coronavirus tests for asymptomatic Alaska Airlines passengers in the parking lot outside of the Bethel terminal.

April 23 was YKHC’s first day of collecting samples. According to YKHC spokesperson Mitchell Forbes, 13 passengers volunteered. The swabs are sent to the Alaska Native Tribal Consortium in Anchorage for testing, and are turned around in two to three days.

Forbes said that YKHC does not believe that there is community transmission occuring in Bethel right now, so the only way that another COVID-19 positive case could appear would be from contact with someone outside the region, specifically coming in from Anchorage. Forbes says that is why YKHC is offering to test asymptomatic passengers coming in on Alaska Airlines, the only airline that flies into Bethel from Anchorage.

So far, only one person has tested positive for COVID-19 in the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta. YKHC and the state traced 81 people who came into contact with the person and required them to self-isolate for two weeks after testing them for the virus. None of those contacts tested positive.