780 AM | 96.1 FM 

“YOURS FOR WESTERN ALASKA”

(907) 443-5221

NSHC Tells Residents to Stay Put, Regional Hospital Has 500 COVID-19 Tests

The Nome hospital at dusk, viewed from the front, with light streaming through its windows.
Nome’s Norton Sound Regional Hospital. Photo: Laura Kraegel, KNOM.

Norton Sound Health Corporation is calling for Western Alaskans to remain at home as the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases across the state continues to climb.

According to a statement from NSHC, Nome and communities in the Bering Strait Region are on the right track with the preventative measures they’ve taken thus far, but those actions need to continue for a few more weeks or longer.

Whether or not residents are being tested for COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus, the recommended action for residents is to self-quarantine and limit contact with other people. NSHC’s public relations specialist Reba Lean told KNOM earlier in the month, if a Nome-ite, or individual from the region, does want to be tested then patients have to meet a few qualifiers first.

“You know the patient presents with the symptoms and the travel and the contact history, we’ll first test them for flu and other respiratory illnesses. If those tests come back negative, if we rule out all other illnesses then we will take a swab for the coronavirus strand and send that in to the state of Alaska for testing.”

UPDATE: Currently NSHC is reporting they have 500 testing kits for COVID-19. As of Friday the regional hospital has performed 14 tests, eight of which have produced negative results while the other six are still pending. According to a statement from NSHC, it can take up to five days or longer to receive test results back from the two existing state labs.

Lean confirmed via email Friday morning that there are some COVID-19 tests available in village clinics, as of this week. She did not give an exact number or further details on where those tests are located.

ORIGINAL: Lean told KNOM earlier this month that only the swab-test for the flu can be done at the village clinics in the Bering Strait Region. They do not have the capability to perform COVID-19 tests in village clinics. And the respiratory illness panel of tests/samples has to be sent to Nome for analysis.

NSHC’s directive is the same for possible cases, those who have been tested, and all residents in the Bering Strait Region – stay at home and self-quarantine if you display symptoms. Symptoms of COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus, can include a fever, fits of coughing, and trouble breathing.

If you have any questions about COVID-19 response in the region, NSHC’s quarantine leader is Amy Hollis and she can be contacted by phone at 907-434-0654.

Update: This story was updated Friday morning to reflect new information provided by Reba Lean at NSHC on the number of tests available and the resources available to the region’s village clinics.

Image at top: Nome’s Norton Sound Regional Hospital. Photo: Laura Kraegel, KNOM.

Share this story

Facebook
Twitter
LinkedIn
Email

Recent Posts

KNOM Radio to Host First-Ever Music Fest

KNOM Radio Mission will host its first-ever Music Fest Friday and Saturday, June 14 and 15. The event, hosted at KNOM’s Back Yard, will be a great opportunity for the Bering Strait region to gather and celebrate the start of summer. Admission to the event is free.  The two-day Music Fest will feature

Read More »

June 13: Rick Thoman’s Climate Highlight for Western Alaska

The following is a transcript from Rick Thoman’s weekly “Climate Highlight for Western Alaska” provided to KNOM Radio. Thoman is a Climate Specialist with the Alaska Center for Climate Assessment and Policy at the University of Alaska Fairbanks. Sea ice has not completely melted out of the Bering Sea, there

Read More »

Teller Man Arrested for Terroristic Threatening

A Teller man has been arrested and transported to Nome’s Anvil Mountain Correctional Center following allegations of threatening to burn down a house, according to an affidavit from Alaska State Troopers. The affidavit reports that Chester Topkok, 26, was reported by his niece, Belinda Smith, who called Troopers on June

Read More »

Charity Lewis Crowned Miss ANB 2024

Charity Lewis was crowned 2024’s Miss Alaska Native Brotherhood (ANB) at the pageant held on June 12. The event held at Nome’s Mini Convention Center showcased the cultural heritage of two contestants, Victoria Gray and Charity Lewis. Both participated in Miss ANB for the first time.  The pageant began with

Read More »

More

Newsletter:

Work for Us:

Jobs

Contact

Nome:

(907) 443-5221 

Anchorage:

(907) 868-1200 

Land Acknowledgement

We acknowledge that KNOM Radio Mission is located on the customary lands of Indigenous peoples. 

Based in the Bering Strait region, KNOM broadcasts throughout the homelands of the Iñupiaq, Siberian Yup’ik, Cup’ik and Yup’ik peoples.