Napaskiak residents report discrimination after COVID-19 positive test

This press release was issued on June 29th, 2020 by the Napaskiak Tribal Council.

On June 16, 2020 YKHC came to Napaskiak to conduct a community wide testing for COVID-19. The results from the tests showed all Napaskiak residents who participated in the community wide test were negative, except for one nonresident who was in Napaskiak at the time of testing was positive.

The community of Napaskiak supports the efforts of YKHC testing and are encouraging community members to get tested.

Since the YKHC press release the community of Napaskiak is currently going through and experiencing humiliation, discrimination and feeling victimized.

It has been brought to our attention and do find it disturbing the YKHC CEO and administration has ordered their staff/employees who work and commute, participated in a recent funeral to get a COVID test and stay home until their test comes back negative.

Two light plant operators were refused service, while another worker who wanted to talk to the Napa Auto supply manager hung up on the call when they were trying to buy generator parts for our local power plant while Napaskiak has been experiencing power outages.

Under the COVID mandate law, State of Alaska and CDC recommendations in states, any person can travel for essential needs. The trip and phone call to Napa Auto Supply were an essential needs trip to get a part for the local power plant in Napaskiak.

The community of Napaskiak respects and practices the COVID-19 CDC guidelines since March 27, 2020 and exercise with extreme caution. The Napaskiak Tribal Council, Napaskiak Task Force and City of Napaskiak advises other communities to be aware your community might experience similar treatment and behavior if COVID-19 cases are claimed in your village. Please protect your community tribal members from humiliation and victimization.

The Napaskiak Tribal Council is disappointed and appalled about YKHC. The Napaskiak Tribal Council will continue to support and assist our Tribal Members during these difficult times. We are all in this together. Be respectful, be safe and stay healthy.

“How good and pleasant it is when brothers dwell together in unity.” Psalm 133

Napaskiak Tribal Council

Napaskiak Task Force

City of Napaskiak

Napa Auto Parts store has apologized to the Napaskiak Tribe and that “the employee who asked the Napaskiak residents to leave the store was not following store policy”, according to news reports. And YKHC released the following statement on the evening of June 29th, 2020.

YKHC Statement on COVID-19 Response


June 29, 2020

To protect confidentiality, YKHC adheres to a longstanding corporate policy of not naming communities affected by medical emergencies. While YKHC cannot control other media sources that may confirm location of COVID-19 cases in the YK Delta, YKHC has been consistent in upholding this longstanding policy throughout response of this global pandemic and when confirming positive cases in the region.

Following consultation with the Alaska Section of Epidemiology and with the approval of Napaskiak Tribal Chief Stephen Maxie, Tribal Administrator Sharon Williams, and Mayor Joe Amik, on June 25 the three organizations issued a joint statement about the strong likelihood of sporadic community spread of COVID-19 in the village. As discussed with community leaders that day, YKHC believes it is our duty to ensure the village of Napaskiak and surrounding region are aware of the public health conditions so they can be best equipped to protect vulnerable populations in the community from spread of a potentially deadly virus, in an area where medical resources are finite and widespread. Furthermore, the June 25 joint release would not have been issued without the community’s expressed support.

Knowing early detection and isolation of this virus is one of the few tools the global medical community has to combat spread, YKHC has implemented comprehensive testing and employee health protocols to protect the health and safety of our customers and colleagues. Because we do not know when someone will have a serious reaction to a COVID-19 infection that requires hospitalization or could lead to death, YKHC has put these protocols in place for employees throughout the region.

We commend the leadership in Napaskiak for encouraging members of their community to get tested for the novel coronavirus. YKHC looks forward to continuing a positive working relationship with the Napaskiak Tribal Council and City of Napaskiak, as we work together to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in the YK Delta.