FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Nome, Alaska – NSHC received COVID-19 test results for three positive patients on the evening Thursday, August 20. Two of the patients are connected and close contacts, and the third case is unrelated. All three have been informed of their test results are safely isolating.
The State of Alaska Section of Epidemiology and Public Health Nursing have been notified of the three cases and will conduct further investigation, including contact tracing.
The two related cases are residents of Diomede. They are connected to a previously announced Diomede case and were already under quarantine at the time NSHC received their test results.
NSHC contacted Diomede community leaders, who have already enacted a community response plan. Diomede has community-wide precautions in place, including public hand sanitizing stations and requiring face masks in public at all times. Local organizations are following strict safety guidelines, and travelers are only allowed on the island with proof of a negative COVID-19 test.
The third patient tested positive as part of the City of Nome’s travel quarantine and testing requirements.
As the region’s confirmed case count continues to grow, NSHC would like to remind the public that compassion is just as important to practice as the recommended safety precautions. Patients who test positive for COVID-19 should not be treated negatively for acquiring the virus. No one tries to get COVID-19 nor spread it to others.
Adding to the stigma of contracting the virus will make it difficult to prevent its spread in the region. People who see negativity in connection with confirmed cases will be less likely to get tested for COVID-19 for fear of testing positive and experiencing the same backlash. They may not be willing to cooperate with the Public Health Nursing contact tracing process out of guilt, as well. Testing and contact tracing are two of the most important tools at the region’s disposal in stopping the spread of the virus.