170 new COVID-19 cases reported in Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta in just 2 days

The majority of the cases were reported in Chevak, a community with approximately 1,075 people
Ariel photograph of the Yukon Kuskokwim Delta Alaska (USGS/Public Domain)
Ariel photograph of the Yukon Kuskokwim Delta Alaska (USGS/Public Domain)(KTUU)
Published: Oct. 21, 2020 at 10:48 AM AKDT
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - COVID-19 cases in the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta have continued to rise as the Yukon-Kuskokwim Health Corp. is reporting 92 new cases of COVID-19 in the region Wednesday after reporting 78 new COVID-19 cases and one new death on Tuesday.

The death is the fourth in the region since the pandemic began, the YKHC said in a release. The person was in their 70s and died from complications of having COVID-19, YKHC said.

The new cases account for a third of the total cases reported in the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta. According to a COVID-19 dashboard maintained by YKHC, the region has identified 502 total COVID-19 cases with 444 of those cases in Alaska residents. There are now 247 reported active cases of the virus in the region. Of the 502 total cases, 251 are considered recovered.

COVID-19 cases were reported throughout the region from Quinhagak and Bethel to Hooper Bay and Kwethluk. The majority of the cases were reported in Chevak, which saw 51 new cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday and another 51 new cases Wednesday.

Chevak has a population of just over 1,000 people, according to the U.S. Census, but now is facing community transmission of COVID-19.

“The YK Delta region is experiencing a dramatic surge in COVID-19 cases and within the last seven days YKHC has sent multiple individuals by medevac to Anchorage due to serious infections of COVID-19,” YKHC said in a release.

Of Tuesday’s 78 new cases, five are in Bethel, two are in area villages, one in Hooper Bay, eight in Quinhagak and 11 in Toksook Bay. Almost all of the cases were likely related to community transmission of COVID-19, but the two cases in area villages and the case in Hooper Bay are likely travel-related, YKHC said.

On Wednesday, YKHC reported an additional 16 cases in Bethel, two new cases in Kwethluk, one case in an unnamed area village and 22 new cases in Quinhagak. The corporation says case investigations are underway in all areas.

In the daily DHSS COVID-19 email, the state said five COVID-19 cases were identified at Bethel Youth Facility. Four of the cases were reported in staff and one case was reported in a juvenile. All of the other juveniles in the facility tested negative for the virus, DHSS said.

The DHSS coronavirus data hub did not include the surge in COVID-19 cases in the YK Delta on Tuesday or Wednesday. DHSS Spokesperson Clinton Bennett said there is a lag between when community partners and the state report case numbers because the state verifies cases and eliminates redundancies before publishing the data.

Because of the number of reports being received, it may take a day or two after receipt to get a report entered and counted,” Bennett said. “Extra personnel will continue to focus on the effort to process and count reports and minimize the delay from receipt to posting on the Hub.”

The YK Delta is in a high alert level for COVID-19 cases for having over 10 cases per 100,000 people, DHSS said. As of Wednesday, the region has the highest average daily case rate for the last two weeks, greater even, than the Municipality of Anchorage.

This is a developing story. Check back for updates.

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