September 18, 2020
Contact: Sarah Richards, Public Relations Specialist
Nome, Alaska – Five NSHC patients are now safely isolating after testing positive for COVID-19 on Tuesday, September 22 and Wednesday, September 23.
Four of the patients are residents of Gambell. The origin of the virus is currently being investigated, but they are presumed to be related to Friday’s cluster of positive cases. The State of Alaska Section of Epidemiology and Public Health Nursing have been notified and are following up with any close contacts. NSHC is working closely with village leadership to encourage residents to take appropriate measures in reducing exposure and preventing the spread of the virus. NSHC has sent additional health care staff to Gambell to provide COVID-19 tests, flu vaccinations, and guidance to the community.
The fifth patient is a nonresident of the region and tested positive for COVID-19 as part of the City of Nome’s testing and quarantine mandate related to travel. There are no known close contacts in this case, and the patient will remain in isolation until recovered. Community travel mandates continue to prove to be an effective tool at identifying positive cases of the virus and preventing further spread. NSHC encourages all residents and nonresidents to pay attention to the latest resolutions from communities regarding travel and requirements from travelers, including needed quarantine time and COVID-19 testing. All updated travel information can be found on the NSHC website.
NSHC encourages comprehensive COVID-19 testing in all communities to help stop the spread. Testing comes at no cost for patients. If you have not received a test in the past month, contact your local clinic to schedule an appointment or stop by the Nome testing tent located in front of the hospital from 8-10:45 a.m. and 1-5 p.m. Monday-Friday and on Sundays from 1-5 p.m.
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.