October 17, 2020
Contact: Sarah Richards, Public Relations Specialist
Nome, Alaska – On October 16, three patients tested positive for COVID-19 in the Norton Sound/Bering Strait region. Two of the patients are connected and close contacts, and the third case is unrelated.
Two of the positive cases are from Stebbins, bringing the total number of recent cases in the village to 23. The patients are considered related to the recent outbreak in the community. The State of Alaska Section of Epidemiology and Public Health Nursing have been notified, and village leadership have been informed. Public buildings have limited to no access, and residents are encouraged to stay hunkered down. NSHC continues to work closely with the community by sending additional help and supplies for community-wide testing.
The third patient is now safely isolating after testing positive for the virus in a regional village. Village leadership have been notified. The State of Alaska Section of Epidemiology and Public Health Nursing are currently investigating the case, including contact tracing. Close contacts will be directed to self-quarantine for two weeks.
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.