Health related stories.

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.

September 10, 2020 in Bethel, Alaska.
Katie Basile / KYUK

Community spread of COVID-19 has arrived in Bethel. Dr. Ellen Hodges, Chief of Staff with the Yukon-Kuskokwim Health Corporation, says that another positive case could not be traced to a known source, bringing the total of confirmed cases from community spread to three.

YKHC providers prepare to test people for COVID-19 at the drive-thru testing site outside the Bethel hospital on March 25, 2020.
Katie Basile/KYUK

The number of coronavirus cases found in people living in or visiting the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta reached 101 when the Yukon-Kuskokwim Health Corporation announced three new cases on Sept. 9.

A Grant Aviation airplane lands in Newtok on July 16, 2020, packed with food and supplies. Grant Aviation Agent Jonah Ayuluk and Tribal Administrator Andrew John meet the plane.
Katie Basile / KYUK

Grant Aviation is now requiring all staff traveling from Anchorage to rural Alaska to have first tested negative for the coronavirus. The changes come after a Grant pilot tested positive for the virus in Bethel in August.

A COVID-19 testing sample at the Yukon-Kuskokwim Health Corporation.
Katie Basile / KYUK

Up until now, the local cases of COVID-19 have been linked by public health authorities to people who traveled into the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta. That’s not true any more. The Yukon-Kuskokwim Health Corporation has evidence that “a strong likelihood” of sporadic community spread of COVID-19 is occurring in Bethel.

Free Airport testing at Bethel, Alaska.
Katie Basile / KYUK

Arriving flights, cab drivers, and passengers are beginning to pick up new practices. During a special meeting on Monday, Aug. 31, the Bethel City Council mandated testing at the Bethel Airport, required masks in public spaces, and instituted a 14-day quarantine for people traveling into Bethel.

Courtesy of Dave Cannon


The city of Aniak honored the five teenagers who helped pull survivors from a Alaska Department of Forestry plane that crashed in a lake this spring. The plane carried a pilot and three seasonal firefighters on their way to Soldotna to provide backup support for wildland firefighters. The teenagers responded to the scene first, and everyone survived.

Anna Rose MacArthur / KYUK

Bethel’s Winter House, the place where the town’s homeless can come in out of the cold, will be a lot more than that in the future. Organizers are using CARES Act funding to open a year-round facility to provide the homeless more than a place to sleep and a hot meal.

A plastic flower bouquet marks the place where a family found their adult male cousin dead inside a Bethel vehicle.
Anna Rose MacArthur / KYUK

A bouquet of colorful, plastic flowers sits in the bare dirt across from the Bethel Evangelical Covenant Church. The stretch of packed earth sits near one of Bethel’s busiest intersections, Watson’s Corner, and is used by locals as a de facto used car lot. 

Update: Rita Aguchak, age 15, returned safely to the Tundra Women’s Coalition around 11:15 p.m. on August 28, according to Bethel Police.