Bering Strait villages identify quarantine facilities

Many rural communities across Alaska continue to experience the spread of COVID-19, yet a significant number of villages lack the resources and facilities necessary to enact protective measures if a positive case occurs.

Even some places that have adequate facilities to combat the pandemic face bureaucratic barriers to make every resource at their disposal available.

To help solve that problem in four Bering Strait communities – Brevig Mission, Stebbins, Teller, and Unalakleet – Rep. Neal Foster (D-Nome) recently helped coordinate an agreement with the Alaska Department of Military and Veterans Affairs to use DMVA facilities in those communities as temporary quarantine facilities if necessary.

The Alaska Federation of Natives, at the request of Kawerak, Inc., played a crucial role in facilitating the agreement with Gen. Torrence Saxe, adjutant general of the Alaska National Guard.

“I was honored to work with Norton Sound Health Corporation, Kawerak, and the Department of Military and Veterans Affairs to successfully coordinate an agreement to use the armories in Stebbins, Teller, Brevig Mission and Unalakleet as temporary quarantine facilities when needed due to COVID-19,” Representative Foster said. “Through everyone’s collaborative efforts, these villages are better able to provide safe housing for those in need and to help protect our elders and others with underlying health conditions.”