Public Alert: Urgent Action Needed Now to Flatten the Curve

by YKHC Staff

October 28th, 2020: Based on existing hospital capacity and the current rate of COVID-19 transmission in the YK Delta, Alaska epidemiologist Dr. Tom Hennessy estimates the capacity of inpatient beds at the YK Delta Regional Hospital could be exceeded as a result of the virus within the month if the public does not follow precautions to help flatten the curve.

In a letter sent to Tribes and Cities in the YKHC service area today, YKHC President & CEO Dan Winkelman said, “As I have reported since March, YKHC asks that each of us change our personal behaviors. We must hunker down and stop visiting people outside of our households. We also ask that everyone follow the COVID-19 precautions as outlined on our website and Facebook page to flatten the curve.” He continued, “It is not time to panic, but time to take control! Knowledge is power. Knowledge plus implementing behavior changes can and will break the cycle of transmission in our region.”

Thirty-four new COVID-19 cases in the YK Delta on October 31

On October 31, YKHC identified thirty-four new COVID-19 cases in the YK Delta. Due to a significant increase in COVID-19 cases across the region, case investigations are on-going to identify whether cases are travel-related, a result of close contact, or a result of community-based transmission.

Fourth in-region hospitalization: Early in the morning on October 31, one COVID-19 positive individual was admitted into the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta Regional Hospital.

1 case in YKHC service area village: On October 31, YKHC confirmed one resident of a YKHC service area village tested positive for COVID-19.

1 case in Aniak: On October 31, YKHC confirmed one resident of Aniak tested positive for COVID-19.

1 case in YKHC service area village: On October 31, YKHC confirmed one resident of a YKHC service area village tested positive for COVID-19.

5 cases in Bethel: On October 31, YKHC confirmed 5 Bethel residents tested positive for COVID-19.

21 cases in Chevak: On October 31, YKHC confirmed 21 Chevak residents tested positive for COVID-19.

1 case in Hooper Bay: On October 31, YKHC confirmed one Hooper Bay resident tested positive for COVID-19 while in Bethel. The individual is currently self-isolating in Bethel.

2 cases in Quinhagak: On October 31, YKHC confirmed 2 Quinhagak residents tested positive for COVID-19.

2 cases in Toksook Bay: On October 31, YKHC confirmed two Toksook Bay residents tested positive for COVID-19.

The individuals are currently self-isolating and YKHC is working with the State of Alaska Section of Epidemiology to conduct contact tracing, follow-up testing, and ensure precautions are taken to protect people they may have been in close contact with. All close contacts will be provided instructions for follow-up testing and precautions to take.

Please note: On October 1, YKHC began receiving written authorization from Tribal leadership to disclose the name of communities in public notifications when positive COVID-19 test results affect villages in our service area. The purpose of this is to continue to protect patient privacy, while bringing as much awareness as possible of current community public health risks, encourage community response and prevention, and promote use of protective measures.

YKHC continues to urge the public not to just rely on travel restrictions to prevent spread of COVID-19. COVID-19 can spread when someone does not have any symptoms or only has mild symptoms. Even if your community has not had a positive COVID-19 case, please continue to practice all known protective measures, including: avoid hosting or attending gatherings of any kind, avoid all non-essential travel, opt for free COVID-19 testing upon arrival at the Bethel, St. Mary’s, and Aniak airports when arriving from out-of-region, practice regular handwashing, remain physically distant (more than six feet) from anyone who does not reside in your same household, wear a mask when in public, and frequently disinfect high-touch surfaces in your home.

Symptoms of COVID-19 include a fever, chills, cough, shortness of breath, diarrhea, and diminished sense of taste or smell. If you have these symptoms, do not go to your village clinic or to the emergency room in Bethel. Instead, call your village clinic or in Bethel call 543-6949 so a health care provider can assist you.

YKHC offers free COVID-19 testing, without an appointment, at the Bethel drive-thru testing site every Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday from noon to 4 p.m. Testing also continues by appointment at the Bethel drive-thru testing site on Monday and Friday, by calling 543-6949.

Get the latest information on COVID-19 from YKHC at www.ykhc.org/covid-19.

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.