FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Nome, Alaska – Norton Sound Health Corporation identified 24 new COVID-19 cases in seven communities on Tuesday, Jan. 4. Twelve of the cases were in Nome, five were in Elim, two were in Unalakleet, two were in Shishmaref, and there was one case each in St. Michael, Golovin, and Little Diomede.
In Nome, seven of the cases were travel-related, two were close contacts to previously identified cases, and three were community spread. One of the Nome cases was a NSHC employee. In Elim, all five cases were community spread. In both Unalakleet and Shishmaref, there was one travel-related case and one close contact case. In St. Michael, Golovin, and Diomede, each case was travel-related. Leadership has been notified in each community.
As the Omicron Variant becomes more prevalent in Alaska, NSHC has heard from state health officials that they are confident the variant has spread to this region. This variant is responsible for the vast majority of new COVID-19 cases in the U.S., and that will become the case in this region soon, as well.
The Omicron Variant is more capable of evading immunity from previous COVID-19 infections and vaccinations than previous variants. However, some level of immunity is better than none. The best protection against this variant continues to be vaccination, including booster vaccinations.
The Centers of Disease Control and Prevention recommends getting a booster dose at least six months after the second dose of Moderna, five months after the second dose of Pfizer, and two months after getting a Johnson & Johnson vaccination.
The CDC has updated its guidance for quarantining and isolation. If an individual is diagnosed with COVID-19, patients should isolate for a minimum of five days and wear a face mask for an additional five days.
If someone is identified as a close contact and is not fully vaccinated and boosted, if eligible, they should quarantine for five days. After a negative test on day five, they should continue to wear a mask in public for five additional days. Those who are fully vaccinated and have received a booster dose do not need to quarantine but are encouraged to wear a mask in public places and test on day five.
There are currently 61 active cases in the region: 34 in Nome, 11 in St. Michael, five in Stebbins, five in Elim, two in Shishmaref, and one in each Unalakleet, Brevig Mission, Golovin, and Little Diomede.