Stebbins Case Count Grows, COVID-19 Found in Regional Travelers

Over the weekend, Norton Sound Health Corporation announced five new cases of COVID-19 were identified in the region. Three of them are connected to the outbreak in Stebbins, while the other two are travel-related.

Late Friday night, NSHC said that two patients were close contacts of previous cases in Stebbins. Then the regional health corporation announced another individual tested positive in that community yesterday. With these three latest cases, the local number of COVID-19 cases in Stebbins has jumped up to 15 within a week.

According to NSHC, local leadership has been notified and the community is encouraged to hunker down for two weeks. As groceries and supplies are limited in Stebbins, NSHC is sending additional staff and testing supplies to the community in the coming days.

The other two recent cases of the virus were found in regional travelers. One patient is a nonresident who tested positive as a result of the City of Nome’s COVID-19 requirements. The fifth new case is an individual traveling outside of the region, however NSHC did not say if they were a resident of the Norton Sound or not. That individual is currently isolating outside of the region.

Norton Sound Health Corporation continues to recommend against unnecessary travel at this time. NSHC says, “traveling outside of the region poses a higher risk for contracting the virus.”

The State Section of Epidemiology and Public Health Nursing have been informed of all five new cases and are conducting contact tracing. As of today, there have been 112 total confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the Norton Sound. At least 76 are considered recovered while 36 are currently active.

Image at top: The COVID-19 testing drive-thru tent outside the Norton Sound Regional Hospital. Photo from Reba Lean, NSHC (2020).