First COVID-19 case reported in the Yukon-Kuskokwim region

Dr. Elizabeth Bates runs through protocol with a YKHC employee at the COVID-19 drive-thru test site on March 25, 2020 in Bethel, Alaska. (Katie Basile/KYUK)

A positive case of COVID-19 has been confirmed for the first time in the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta. The Yukon-Kuskokwim Health Corporation announced the region’s initial case, in Bethel, in a press release on April 6, bringing the total number of cases in the state to 192.

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YKHC reports that the patient is self-isolating and “working with the State of Alaska Section of Epidemiology and local government officials to ensure precautions are taken to protect people they may have been in contact with.”

YKHC spokesperson Mitchell Forbes said that no one at the health corporation was available for media interviews at the time of the announcement. As of April 2, YKHC Chief of Staff Dr. Ellen Hodges reported that YKHC had conducted 50 Covid-19 tests in the region.

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In a press release, YKHC said, “This first case in our region highlights the importance of adherence to prevention guidelines including quarantine, social distancing, regular disinfecting, and regular handwashing. Help protect your community by staying home.

YKHC reminds people that symptoms of COVID-19 include a fever and a cough, sometimes causing shortness of breath. It asks that any one experiencing these symptoms to not go to a village clinic or the Bethel emergency room. Instead, call your village clinic or the Bethel hospital at 907-543-6949 so a health care provider can assist you.

Catch up on the latest news on coronavirus in Alaska.

Anna Rose MacArthur is a reporter at KYUK in Bethel.

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