Health related stories.

Romy Cadiente / Newtok Village Council

After a month-long outage, the village of Newtok has power again. During that month, families lost entire summer subsistence harvests stored in their freezers. Here’s why it took so long to turn the lights back on.

YKHC Dentist David Humphrey holds a test tube at the drive-thru test site where he was helping on April 10, 2020.
Katie Basile / KYUK

The Yukon-Kuskokwim Health Corporation is investigating why dozens of COVID-19 test samples were lost. A YKHC employee reported that test samples from 95 patients were lost in transit, according to an email from YKHC Vice President of Communications Tiffany Zulkosky. 

Registered Nurse Avelina Chung runs through protocol with a YKHC employee at the COVID-19 drive-thru test site on March 25, 2020 in Bethel, Alaska.
Katie Basile / KYUK

The number of confirmed coronavirus cases announced by the Yukon-Kuskokwim Health Corporation rose to 132 over the weekend. Twenty-six of these cases are active, meaning that the infected have not recovered.

Update: On Sept. 20, Bethel Police said 16-year old Alec Samuelson has returned home safe

Original Story:

Bethel Police have reported that a 16-year old male has run away. The teenager, Alec Samuelson, is Alaska Native and was last seen on Thursday, Sept. 17 around 9 p.m. in the Tundra Ridge subdivision wearing a blue American Eagle hoodie, black pants, and brown shoes.

If you have information about Samuelson’s location, please contact the Bethel Police at 543-3781. 


The road leading to the rock quarry on Nelson Island doubles as an airstrip for non-commercial flights in Mertarvik. The new village may not have a commerical airport until 2022. July 16, 2020 in Mertarvik, Alaska.
Katie Basile / KYUK

The brand new village of Mertarvik is one step closer to having a commercial runway. Last week, the Newtok Native Corporation finalized a land sale with the Alaska Department of Transportation that will allow the DOT to build a new airstrip. The negotiation for that deal took over seven months. 

A COVID-19 test sample is collected from the drive-thru test site run by the Yukon-Kuskokwim Health Corporation on April 14, 2020 in Bethel, Alaska.
Katie Basile / KYUK

The Yukon-Kuskokwim Health Corporation has confirmed the community spread of COVID-19 in Nunapitchuk after a positive case in the village could not be linked to travel. YKHC, along with the Native Village of Nunapitchuk and the City of Nunapitchuk, released the information on Sept. 16, 2020. Nunapitchuk is the second village in the region, not including Bethel, where health officials have found evidence of community spread.

Twelve-year-old Christopher Charles II was reported found at 8 p.m. on Sept. 16, according to the Bethel Police Department. 

Original story:

A 12 year old boy is missing in Bethel. Christopher Charles II is Alaska Native, and was last seen walking toward the Tundra Ridge subdivision on Monday, Sept. 14, wearing all black clothing. If you have information about Charles II, please call the Bethel Police Department at 543-3781. 


A swab and tube for specimen collection in the lab at the Yukon-Kuskokwim Health Corporation in Bethel, Alaska.
Katie Basile / KYUK

Over the weekend, the Yukon-Kuskokwim Health Corporation identified 13 new cases of COVID-19. On Monday, Sept. 14, there were four more cases. 

Krysti Shallenberger / KYUK

On Sept. 6, a Knik Construction employee was digging up ground in Aniak to install power lines for the ongoing runway project, when the worker also dug up a human jawbone.

Newtok, Alaska has been without power since Aug. 23 and some families have lost a summer's worth of subsistence food without electricity to run their freezers.
Katie Basile / KYUK

People in Newtok have been without power for almost three weeks. Families without personal generators have seen their freezers thaw out, and watched a summer’s worth of subsistence harvest go to waste.