FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Nome, Alaska – Norton Sound Health Corporation identified 43 COVID-19 cases in eight regional communities on Monday, Jan. 10. Of the new cases, 13 were in St. Michael, 10 were in Nome, eight were in Unalakleet, six were in Elim, and there were two in both Shishmaref and Teller and one in both Shaktoolik and Stebbins.
In St. Michael, one case was travel-related, nine were close contacts to previously identified cases, and three were community spread. In Nome, one case was travel-related, four were close contacts, and five were community spread. One of Nome’s cases was a NSHC employee. In Unalakleet, two cases were travel-related, five were close contacts, and one was community spread. In Elim, Shishmaref, and Teller, all cases were close contacts to previously identified cases. The Shaktoolik case was travel-related, while the Stebbins case was community spread.
As the region experiences an uptick in new cases due to the COVID-19 Omicron Variant, one option for easy precautions are at-home test kits. The Nome Public Health Center has the test kits available to the public for free. Individuals can pick up a test kit from the health center, located at 207 West 6th Ave. in Nome, from 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Monday-Friday.
The test kits are also available to businesses in the region that may need a larger supply. Businesses may contact the Nome Public Health Center at (907) 443-3221.
Individuals who receive a positive result from their test kit should call NSHC’s Nurse Call Line at any time of day or night at 844-586-8773 or 443-6411. A NSHC nurse will take their information, and a member of the COVID Response Team will call the individual back to discuss guidance.
For more information on the home COVID-19 testing kits, join the NSHC Tribal Leader Call at 11 a.m. on Wednesday, Jan. 12. Deanna Stang, RN, from the Nome Public Health Center will join the call to answer questions from regional residents. Call 1-800-315-6338; access code: 03286# to join the discussion.
There are currently 100 active cases in the region: 45 in Nome, 19 in St. Michael, 14 in Unalakleet, 12 in Elim, three in Stebbins, three in Teller, two in Shishmaref, one in Shaktoolik, and one in Golovin. According to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the guidance for positive cases has changed to five days of isolation (based on the start of the infectious period), followed by five days of vigilant masking around others. As a result of this reduced infectious period, cases drop off the active case count quicker. The region is currently seeing a high level of transmission, although the case count may not appear as high as other times.