Two NSHC employees test positive for COVID-19
Two more regional residents have tested positive for COVID-19 in the last week, both of them Norton Sound Health Corporation employees. This brings the total number of confirmed cases in the Nome Sound/Bering Strait region up to nine, with four active cases.
The first new case last week is an employee at the NSHC’s Quyanna Care Center, the elderly care facility in Nome. The patient tested positive on Friday, June 26 during a routine weekly testing of hospital staff, and immediately began isolating. The patient had not traveled outside the region in the last three months, and was not showing symptoms. QCC’s policies require that staff wear protective gear at all times and prohibit QCC staff from visiting other areas of the hospital, and no other patient or staff member in the facility has tested positive so far. The patient’s close contacts are being traced and asked to quarantine for 14 days.
On the evening of Sunday, June 28, a second NSHC employee tested positive during routine testing in a regional village. NSHC does not identify the community. The second patient had also not traveled recently, and was also not showing symptoms. Close contacts were notified the next morning and began their 14 day quarantines, as “a full quarantine is the safest method of minimizing spread of the disease, and COVID-19 testing does not fully replace quarantining,” according to an NSHC press release. Village clinics also follow strict guidelines, with staff and patients wearing masks at all times.
Statewide, Alaska saw its biggest spike on Tuesday with 48 new cases. There were also two new COVID-19 related deaths last week. “We are definitely seeing a sharp increase in cases in Alaska, and just like in other states, many of the recent new cases are in youth or younger adults,” Dr. Anne Zink, Alaska’s Chief Medical Officer, said in a press release. She pointed out that many recent cases have been linked to bars, and that “going to a bar right now, especially to listen to a concert, should be viewed as a high risk activity.”
As of Tuesday, the state has 1,135 total cases (940 residents and 195 nonresidents), 526 recoveries and 14 deaths.