18 individuals have tested positive for COVID-19 in the Norton Sound region thus far, with a Norton Sound Health Corporation employee and a resident of Teller being the latest two confirmed.
On Saturday, NSHC confirmed another case of COVID-19 had been identified in Teller. This follows a separate resident testing positive on Thursday. According to a statement from NSHC, the newest case appears to be caused by community spread and it is possible there is a local outbreak of the virus in Teller.
Here’s NSHC’s Medical Director, Mark Peterson, to explain:
“So that’s three total cases in Teller. One was over a month ago, and then two just recently. So, there’s no questions that there is some virus floating around. Now, are people getting that in Nome and bringing that in Teller, [or] are they getting that in Teller? We don’t know. But we do know that the virus is in Nome, we know that the virus is in Teller, and we know that people drive back and forth.”
Community leaders have been notified and they are working with NSHC to test the entire population of Teller this week.
Through NSHC’s statement, Teller’s leaders are asking residents to not travel by road to or from Nome and to not visit neighboring communities by boat. Only essential travel to Teller is encouraged at this time.
If you have any questions about the community’s travel restrictions and permit requirements, call the City of Teller at 642-3401.
Earlier this morning, NSHC announced a new positive case that was confirmed on Sunday. Dr. Peterson confirmed during NSHC’s daily tribal teleconference that this latest COVID-19 case is not from Teller, but he did not identify their home community nor how the individual contracted the disease.
“It’s a head scratcher like other cases are, but what that means is we simply need to do testing and that’s underway. We’ve met with that village’s leadership, they are fully aware, and they have a plan in place and testing is happening.”
Image at top: The community of Teller as seen from the one road leading into the city. Photo from KNOM file.