Health related stories.

Courtesy of the Yukon-Kuskokwim Health Corporation.

The Yukon-Kuskokwim Health Corporation is now offering voluntary coronavirus tests for asymptomatic Alaska Airlines passengers in the parking lot outside of the Bethel terminal.

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

Bethel’s first positive case of COVID-19 required tracking down 81 people who had been in contact with the patient, who is believed to have picked up the virus while traveling. According to Yukon-Kuskokwim Health Corporation spokesperson Mitchel Forbes, all 81 people that the patient was in contact with have completed the required 14-day self-quarantine, and no new cases have been diagnosed in the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta. 

Johnathan Alexie with his dog, Lexi, who was attacked by a coyote two weeks ago.
Johnathan Alexie

On April 7, a coyote wandered into the village of Quinhagak and got into a fight with a dog. Residents shot the coyote, sent it in for testing, and it turned out that the animal had rabies. The village had to weigh the risk of rabies with the risk of inviting a veterinarian into the community during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The Bethel Winter House, located in the Bethel Evangelical Covenant Church, provides a warm place for people to sleep during the coldest months of the year.
Anna Rose MacArthur / KYUK

Health mandates to stay isolated are especially hard for Bethel residents, who pride themselves on being part of a close-knit community. With schools closed, some families are turning to video calls to get kids and parents connected again. Joining one of those calls shows that Bethel is as close as ever.

Masks Required At Swanson’s

Apr 16, 2020
Katie Basile

On Monday, April 13, it became official: Swanson’s grocery in Bethel started requiring all shoppers to wear masks. 

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

It’s been one week since the Yukon-Kuskokwim Health Corporation announced the first confirmed case of COVID-19 in the region. Since then, YKHC has more than doubled its testing. As of April 14, the health corporation had administered over 200 coronavirus tests in the region. All tests, except the one confirmed positive, have come back negative. About 30 test results are still pending.

Greg Kim / KYUK

There’s more money available to rural Alaska health care providers. Premera Blue Cross Blue Shield of Alaska is preparing to award grants from a $3 million fund it began in 2019. The first round of 10 grants was approved in February.

Quinhagak Extends Travel Restrictions

Apr 13, 2020

The Native Village of Kwinhagak has added another month to its travel restrictions. Originally, the restrictions were put in place through the end of April. Now they will continue through May 31. 

Akiak Tightens Travel Restrictions

Apr 13, 2020

Akiak has acted to limit travel to and from the village after Bethel reported its first confirmed case of COVID-19 on April 6. Akiak residents used to be able to travel throughout the region without going into self-quarantine, which has changed. Residents returning to the village will now have to self-quarantine, along with the rest of their households, for 14 days. That includes when returning from visiting a nearby village. 

Kwethluk Cracks Down On Bootleggers

Apr 13, 2020

Kwethluk tried to limit travel in and out of the community to prevent the spread of COVID-19, but the measure has apparently resulted in increased alcohol and drugs being smuggled into the dry village.