Health related stories.

People leave the Alaska Airlines airport terminal in Bethel on April 29, 2020. YKHC CEO and President Dan Winkelman says that less than 50% of inbound passengers volunteer for testing at the airport.
Katie Basile / KYUK

The Yukon-Kuskokwim Health Corporation is putting pressure on the Bethel City Council to mandate COVID-19 testing at the airport. YKHC is arguing that the city has the legal authority to pass such a law, and now they’re bringing in the region’s state senator and the Alaska Department of Law to weigh in. Those arguments appear to be gaining some traction with the city. 

This scanning electron microscope image shows SARS-CoV-2 (in yellow), the coronavirus that causes COVID-19, isolated from a patient in the U.S., emerging from the surface of cells (in blue/pink) cultured in a lab.
National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases – Rocky Mountain Laboratories

After four days with no new cases, the Yukon-Kuskokwim Health Corporation announced three new cases of coronavirus on Aug. 27. 

Yukon Kuskokwim Correctional Center
Aleina Tanabe / KYUK

No new cases have emerged at either state facility in the two weeks since two Bethel courthouse employees and three Bethel jail employees tested positive for COVID-19.


Update: The deadline for this program has been extended to Sept. 30.

A sign on Napakiak’s boat landing welcomes people to the community. Napakiak Mayor Joann Slats says that the sign is constantly moved back as the riverbank erodes. September 8, 2018.
Anna Rose MacArthur / KYUK

At least four Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta communities are locked down as the number of coronavirus cases climbs across the region

Aniak, Alaska
Alaska Department of Commerce

A COVID-19 case in Aniak has put the hub community into lockdown. That means public buildings have been closed, and residents are ordered to stay in their homes. 

Glenn Kameroff and Nastasia Kameroff drowned in the Kuskokwim River on August 21, 2020 between Kalskag and Aniak.
Google Maps screenshot

Two Kalskag residents drowned on the morning of Friday, Aug. 21 after their boat capsized in the Kuskokwim River. Searchers found the overturned boat about 15 miles downriver from Aniak, according to an online dispatch from Alaska State Troopers. The two deceased are Glenn Kameroff and Nastasia Kameroff.

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

The number of positive coronavirus cases in the Yukon-Kuskowkim Delta skyrocketed this weekend. The Yukon-Kuskokwim Health Corporation announced 17 new cases on Aug. 22 and 23, marking the biggest spike in cases since mid-August. All 17 patients are currently self-isolating.

Courtesy of Google Maps

A Nunapitchuk resident died of coronavirus in the Bethel hospital on Wednesday, August 19. Nunapitchuk mayor Noah Wise confirmed that the resident was born and raised in the Yukon-Kuskokwim village, left to live in Anchorage, and then returned this summer to their home.

Greg Kim / KYUK

Since March, the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta’s remote location has protected its residents from the spread of the coronavirus. Other than by barge, the only way to access the area is through the region’s biggest airport in Bethel. But case numbers are beginning to rise as more people travel out of the region, and bring the virus back with them when they return.