Health related stories.

The Kuskokwim River at Red Devil on May 1, 2018.
National Weather Service, Alaska, River Watch

The former mining town of Red Devil sits far upriver on the Kuskokwim. It’s a tiny town with a lot of big issues to tackle, and no forms of government to do so. 

Loren Holmes / ADN

This week, people in the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta are beginning to receive their second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. Already over 1,550 people in the region have received their first dose. While many areas of the nation are behind schedule in their COVID-19 vaccinations, the opposite is happening in the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta.

Loren Holmes / ADN

Beginning Monday, Jan. 11, many more people will be eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine across the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta.

Katie Basile / KYUK

On Jan. 6, two people in the region died from complications with COVID-19. One of the individuals was in their 50s; the other was in their 60s. Also that day, a person with COVID-19 was medevaced out of the region for advanced medical care.

Loren Holmes / ADN

In mid-December, the Yukon-Kuskokwim Health Corporation received enough Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines for just over 2,000 people to receive two doses of the vaccine. By the end of the year, about 1,120 people in the region had been vaccinated with at least one dose. YKHC is continuing to vaccinate people against the virus into the new year.

Katie Basile / KYUK

The overall number of new, confirmed COVID-19 cases in the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta is declining, but the number of severe infections requiring hospitalization and medevacs is increasing. According to YKHC Public Information Officer Gage Hoffman, the health corporation has traced many of these severe infections to Christmas gatherings.

Father Chuck Peterson waves farewell during his final Bethel Mass on Sunday, October 1, 2017. Yup'ik elders, deacons, and their wives surround the Jesuit priest, giving him a traditional Yup'ik blessing for safe travels on his journey.
Dean Swope / KYUK

Catholic Priest Fr. Chuck Peterson died on Christmas Eve. The Jesuit priest began serving in the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta in the 1970s, where he spent decades building the local, Indigenous leadership of the church. In 2017, his superiors transferred Fr. Chuck to California after he developed health issues. On Dec. 24, Fr. Chuck died in San Jose, California at the age of 82. He passed two weeks after being admitted to the hospital with pneumonia in both lungs from COVID-19.

Yukon Kuskokwim Correctional Center
Aleina Tanabe / KYUK

The COVID-19 outbreak at the Yukon Kuskokwim Correctional Center is winding down. There are currently 13 active cases among inmates, but on Dec. 16 there were 75. 

Katie Basile / KYUK

The Yukon-Kuskokwim Health Corporation has been reporting lower numbers of new COVID-19 cases recently. Over the past two weeks, an average of 23 new cases have been reported per day.

Bethel Winter House

On Monday, Dec. 28, Bethel’s homeless shelter opened its new building, which formerly housed the town’s senior center, to guests for the first time. Jon Cochrane, with Bethel Winter House, said that it’s exciting to finally have a homeless shelter that will be open all year round, not just in the winter.