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COVID-19 Cases in Gambell More Than Double in a Week

Gambell, Alaska
An overview of Gambell, Alaska (the same community where Kristin Leffler also traveled to report on ACAT’s special community course).

There are now 19 active cases of COVID-19 in the community of Gambell. Norton Sound Health Corporation announced today two new patients tested positive for the virus on Sunday, three on Saturday, and four on Friday.

According to a press release from NSHC, the health corporation has been working with tribal leaders for more than a week to reduce any further spread of the coronavirus. The City of Gambell has instituted a hunker down mandate asking all residents to remain at home for two weeks, and to only leave for necessary medical needs and groceries.

NSHC says the local Village Police Officer (VPO) is patrolling in the village to help limit contact between residents. There is also a community-wide curfew in place currently.

Roughly 400 people, or more than half of Gambell’s population, have been tested for COVID-19 since one household with six individuals contracted the virus in that community earlier this month. NSHC says they will send a second response team to the St. Lawrence Island community this week.

Separately, a resident of Savoonga tested positive for the virus on Friday. According to NSHC, the patient was identified through the community’s testing and quarantine requirements of those who travel into Savoonga. The individual is safely isolating, and the community’s leaders have been notified.

The State Section of Epidemiology and Public Health Nursing are following up with any close contacts of the newly confirmed cases. There are now 80 cases of COVID-19 in the Norton Sound region, 22 are active while 58 are considered recovered.

Image at top: An overview of Gambell, Alaska. Photo from Kristin Leffler, KNOM (2015).

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