FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 3, 2020
Contact: Reba Lean, Public Relations Manager
Nome, Alaska – Norton Sound Health Corporation has identified a second individual in Unalakleet who tested positive for COVID-19 this week. The patient, who is a resident and agreed to allow NSHC to share their home community of Unalakleet, is aware of the test results and is safely isolating.
NSHC has notified the State of Alaska Section of Epidemiology and Public Health Nursing, which will conduct further investigation into the case. NSHC believes this patient’s virus will be considered a travel-related infection.
NSHC contacted Unalakleet leadership to develop a community response plan. Unalakleet leaders encourage residents to show compassion for anyone who tests positive for COVID-19 and their close contacts who are self-quarantining.
The community has a travel permitting process and quarantine guidelines in place, which have managed to limit widespread contamination in the community so far. Anyone traveling to Unalakleet is required to either quarantine for 14 days, or provide negative test results within three days of departure to Unalakleet, quarantine for seven days, and test again on the seventh day. If a person cannot receive test results before traveling to Unalakleet, they may test upon arrival and follow the seven-day quarantine protocol. Every member of the household is required to quarantine together.
In its community travel resolution, Unalakleet’s tri-organization committee writes: “These measures are to protect our community from the virus which travels with people and not by itself.” It reminds readers that “Our villages have a history of losing many community members due to illnesses and viruses.”
Unalakleet’s thorough travel restrictions are coupled with local mandates, including required face masks in public spaces. NSHC encourages such safety precautions for preventing the spread of the virus and would also recommend frequent hand washing or sanitizing, as well as practicing social distancing from others outside your immediate social circle.