‘A wake up call’ COVID-19 cases in Maniilaq service area doubled in October

A village at the end of a marshs
Kotzebue as seen from the road east of town (Zachariah Hughes/Alaska Public Media, Kotzebue)

COVID-19 cases across the Maniilaq Service area more than doubled in October. The regional health care provider covers the Northwest Arctic Borough and the North Slope village of Point Hope. 

Residents of Kotzebue made up a large majority of the cases, with 96 residents testing positive. Additionally, the villages of Buckland and Noatak saw spikes of COVID-19 among residents, with 18 and 11 cases respectively. Overall, Maniilaq logged 145 cases in October, with only one of the cases coming from a non-resident. That’s more than triple the 43 cases the provider reported in September. 

In a community update, Maniilaq officials say current cases are due to clusters in households. Officials wrote, “members of those identified households who are positive have not been successful in their isolation within the household.”

Maniilaq reports that the highest number of cases, more than 40 percent, were from people between the ages of 20 and 39. 

In a safety plea to residents, officials wrote, “this is a wake-up call. The coronavirus is real! We can’t stamp it out but we can mitigate it with public safety guidelines.”

Those guidelines include social distancing, wearing a mask, avoiding crowds and washing your hands. 

As of the end of October, the Maniilaq service area has seen a total of 241 cases of the virus.

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

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