Nome, Alaska – Seven residents of the Norton Sound/Bering Strait region have tested positive for COVID-19.
Six of the seven cases are related to the recent community outbreak in Gambell. NSHC has been working closely with the State of Alaska Section of Epidemiology, Public Health Nursing, and Gambell leadership since September 19 to implement protective measures to reduce any further spread of the virus. Close contacts who initially tested negative will be retested 7 to 14 days after the first test. This week, NSHC staff tested 365 residents in the village.
NSHC continues to send support to Gambell with supplies and additional health care staff. Gambell leadership report that the “hunker down” notice, as well as the curfew are working to encourage residents to stay in their homes and avoid socializing with others. The grocery store is closed to walk-in shoppers, but residents can order groceries over the phone.
The seventh positive patient is a resident of a regional village who tested positive while traveling outside of the region. The patient was not in the region during any of the infectious period.
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.