October 23, 2020
Contact: Sarah Richards, Public Relations Specialist
Update: The patient has agreed to disclose their location as St. Michael.
Nome, Alaska – On October 23, a non-resident of the region tested positive for COVID-19 while in the Norton Sound/Bering Strait region.
The case is considered to be travel-related, and the patient is now safely isolating. The State of Alaska Section of Epidemiology and Public Health Nursing have been notified. NSHC teleconferenced with village leadership to discuss follow-up testing and to develop a rapid response plan. Contact tracing is currently underway. Close contacts of the patient will need to quarantine for 14 days.
With positive cases surging throughout the state, NSHC encourages patients to delay travel at this time, including medical visits to Anchorage unless immediate attention is necessary. If telemedicine can be utilized, or a procedure can take place in Nome or at a local clinic, that is currently the safest option. Health care providers might consider delaying medical travel for patients for the next two months, though this will be decided on an individual basis. With the upcoming holiday season, NSHC encourages residents to stay within the region and avoid contact with those outside your household.
All residents in the region are strongly encouraged to get their flu vaccine this year to protect them against getting influenza during the COVID-19 pandemic. Getting the flu during the pandemic could lower your immune system defenses, and make you more vulnerable to other illnesses, including COVID-19.