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Rural Alaska

COVID-19 cases emerge among residents of Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta and North Slope

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Teams of health care workers are headed to two rural Alaska communities after two cases of COVID-19 were confirmed in residents of the North Slope and the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta this week.

The first person from the North Slope to test positive for COVID-19 traveled from Anchorage through Utqiagvik and to their home community, the Arctic Slope Native Association said in a statement.

Officials did not release the name of the community, citing privacy reasons. The person was tested for the illness Friday in Utqiagvik at the Samuel Simmonds Memorial Hospital. They were not experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 when tested, the Arctic Slope Native Association said.

Multiple health care workers were headed to the community to test anyone who might have been in contact with the person who tested positive, the Arctic Slope Native Association said.

That case will appear in Alaska’s case count on Thursday, as updated COVID-19 numbers reflect newly identified results from the previous day.

Additionally, a girl under the age of 10 from a village within the Bethel Census Area tested positive for COVID-19, health officials said Wednesday.

“A response team is traveling to the village today to provide screening and rapid testing,” the Yukon-Kuskokwim Health Corp. said in a statement.

In order to protect the privacy of the individual, state and YKHC officials did not release the name of the village. The person was tested in Bethel on Tuesday and the results will be reconfirmed by the state’s public health lab.

The announcement marks the third case in the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta region of Alaska, following a mid-May case involving someone who traveled to a village and an April case in Bethel.

The state of Alaska's case count reflects test results confirmed through Tuesday night, May 26, 2020.

Through Tuesday night, 412 Alaska residents had tested positive for COVID-19, in addition to 17 nonresidents in Alaska confirmed to have the virus. The state’s updated statistics included one new hospitalization Wednesday and two new recovered cases with 38 active cases of the virus statewide.

So far, 46,363 COVID-19 tests have been run in Alaska. The deaths of 10 Alaskans have been tied to the virus.

Correction: This story has been edited to say that there are 38 active cases of COVID-19 in Alaska, not 48.

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