FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 21, 2020
Contact: Reba Lean, Public Relations Manager
Nome, Alaska – A second patient has tested positive for COVID-19 in the Bering Strait/Norton Sound Region. The patient has agreed to disclose their home community of Nome and has started to self-isolate immediately after being notified of the positive test result. The State of Alaska Section of Epidemiology and Public Health Nursing are in touch with the patient and will begin the process of tracing close contacts.
The patient is an employee of Norton Sound Health Corporation, and the positive result was found through routine employee testing. In an effort to take every precaution, including a four-day terminal cleaning and Nome staff testing, all Nome NSHC facilities will close to the public on Friday. The ER will remain open for any emergencies and acute needs during this time. The Nurse Call Line, a free, Nome-based medical advice service, is also available at 443-6411. If you had a scheduled appointment, your provider will contact you to reschedule.
NSHC continues to work through its incident command structure to develop accessible information and testing availability for the region’s residents. NSHC continues to work with the City of Nome’s Emergency Operations Center and communicates with regional community leaders via teleconference on a daily basis. A previously canceled Daily Tribal Leader Call at 11 a.m. Friday, May 22, will take place. The call-in line is 1-800-315-6338; access code: 03286#.
It remains important to follow social distancing recommendations, safe hygiene practices, and quarantine/isolation guidelines. If you are contacted by the State of Alaska as a potential close contact of the patient who tested positive, you will be instructed on what to do to promote safety in your community. The State of Alaska will also notify the patient when they have safely recovered and no longer need to isolate.
NSHC has opened testing for all regional residents, whether they have symptoms of COVID-19 or not. In Nome, the walk-in testing tent outside the Norton Sound Regional Hospital is open 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday-Friday. If you would like to be tested in a village, contact your local clinic to arrange testing. If you are experiencing symptoms (cough, fever, shortness of breath, fatigue, new-onset diarrhea, loss of smell or taste, and other cold symptoms), please contact Primary Care in Nome at 443-3333 or your local clinic before going in to be seen.
Stay up to date with the latest by visiting www.nortonsoundhealth.org/category/covid-19.