First coronavirus case reported in North Slope Borough

The North Slope Borough’s main building in Utqiaġvik. (Photo by Ravenna Koenig/ Alaska’s Energy Desk)

A resident from the North Slope Borough has tested positive for COVID-19. This is the first positive case in the region. 

According to a release from the Arctic Slope Native Association, the patient had been tested at the Samuel Simmonds Memorial Hospital in Utqiagvik on May 22. The patient had been in Anchorage, before traveling to Utqiagvik and then on to their home community. For the patient’s privacy, the name of the community was withheld. 

RELATED: Second Sitka resident has tested positive for COVID-19

Samuel Simmonds Hospital is preparing a team of medical officials to go to the patient’s community to provide testing to anyone who may have come in contact with the individual. 

While this is the first case for a resident of the North Slope, a BP worker at Prudhoe Bay tested positive for the virus in March. 

RELATED: Nome hospital reopens after positive tests among workers

This is one of several recent cases in rural Alaska communities. The Nome area and the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta saw their first cases in April. Kotzebue and the Northwest Arctic Borough saw their first two cases in the last week. There have been 400 positive cases of COVID-19 across Alaska. 

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Wesley Early covers municipal politics and Anchorage life for Alaska Public Media. Reach him at