Health related stories.

Katie Basile / KYUK

People in Bethel are preparing for the arrival of COVID-19 because the region’s isolation will not protect them.

Katie Basile / KYUK

Hospitals nationwide lack enough face masks to protect their healthcare workers from the coronavirus. Thankfully, the Yukon-Kuskokwim Health Corporation doesn’t have that problem yet. No cases of the virus have been diagnosed in the region. To remain ahead of the curve, YKHC is distributing kits for community members to assemble masks.

Katie Basile / KYUK

During the COVID-19 outbreak, life in the villages poses its own set of challenges. Since some communities are without running water and many people live in overcrowded homes, many state and federal guidelines for how to stay healthy and prevent the spread of coronavirus do not apply. Here are some recommendations that the Yukon-Kuskokwim Health Corporation has tailored for Y-K Delta village residents:

Courtesy of the Governor's Office

A coronavirus case has yet to be confirmed in the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta. Even so, regional leaders, businesses, local governments and the Yukon-Kuskokwim Health Corporation are taking steps to slow the spread of COVID-19. Ten new cases were announced in Alaska on March 26, bringing the state’s total to 69.

Katie Basile / KYUK

As the number of confirmed cases of coronavirus in Alaska grows by the day, the Yukon-Kuskokwim Health Corporation is preparing to respond to cases in the Y-K Delta. The health corporation serves about 58 communities, all of which are off the road system. KYUK will continue to update this post with additional information about YKHC's response to the COVID-19 outbreak.

Katie Basile / KYUK

Leaders in the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta want Gov. Mike Dunleavy to sign a shelter-in-place order, and to support economic relief for regional airlines. The Association of Village Council Presidents, the Yukon-Kuskokwim Health Corporation, the Lower Kuskokwim School District, Yuut Elitnaurviat, and the Bethel Native Corporation all signed a letter which was sent to the governor on March 25.

Dean Swope / KYUK

Public health nurses, or PHNs, are among the healthcare workers on the frontlines of disease and outbreaks in rural Alaska. With the coronavirus pandemic, PHNs are figuring out how to work with the Yukon-Kuskokwim Health Corporation and its health aides to battle the pandemic. At the same time, the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta is also experiencing an outbreak of tuberculosis.

Hooper Bay Tribal Administrator Mamie Tinker says that RavnAir and Grant Aviation have complied with the village's request to keep "outsiders" from entering the community.
Katie Basile / KYUK

The number of villages in the Y-K Delta that are enacting travel restrictions in order to prevent the spread of the coronavirus has been growing by the day. KYUK knows of over 20 villages that are telling their residents not to leave and outsiders not to enter, but how are these villages enforcing those restrictions? Three Y-K Delta villages shared three different approaches.

A home in Lower Kalskag was newly connected with running water in the fall of 2019.
Greg Kim / KYUK

Many more people in Y-K Delta villages will soon have access to running water to wash their hands during the coronavirus outbreak. On March 24, the Alaska Rural Utility Collaborative (ARUC)’s advisory committee voted to reconnect running water to homes that were unable to pay for it. 

On March 25, Bethel City Council adopted its second emergency ordinance in as many days.
City of Bethel

Bethel has officially declared a local emergency disaster. In an emergency meeting on March 25, Bethel City Council unanimously adopted the emergency ordinance. Aside from requesting funding from the state and federal governments, it issued strong health recommendations to Bethel residents. City administration explained what those recommendations are and how the city plans to enforce them.