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Three Separate Patients Test Positive for COVID-19, Won’t Affect Nome Public Schools

Three new cases of COVID-19 have been reported by Norton Sound Health Corporation within the last three days [Friday through Sunday]. One patient is a non-resident who traveled to Nome, one is a resident who is currently outside of the region, and the third lives in Nome.

NSHC announced Friday evening that two individuals tested positive for the virus earlier that day. One person was traveling outside of the Norton Sound and is isolating outside of the region. NSHC did not say where the resident was currently located, only that they were not in the region at any point during their infectious period. According to the CDC, a person with COVID-19 could still be contagious at least ten days after symptoms start.

The second case is a Nome resident who was identified as a positive case after what NSHC described as routine testing. How this individual contracted COVID-19 is under investigation and the State Section of Epidemiology is conducting contact tracing.

According to Nome Public Schools, NPS was informed that one of these positive cases was connected to a family within the district. Their announcement says, “Sunday we received an update from NSHC, and a number of individuals had been placed into quarantine. All tests to date have come back negative.”

Based on this information, and what NPS was told by NSHC’s Medical Director Dr. Mark Peterson, all Nome schools will remain in the green phase this week.

Then yesterday morning, NSHC announced a separate non-resident of the region tested positive for COVID-19 while traveling into Nome. The latest patient is safely isolating and is being classified as a travel-related case.

In the same statement, Norton Sound Health Corporation released information about their new Anchorage-based employee, who will work on-site at the Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport and greet travelers heading to Nome. This employee will provide education and help travelers get pre-registered for expedited COVID-19 testing upon arrival in Nome. The employee has begun work and will be at the terminal on a daily basis to meet each outgoing Nome flight.

Currently, there are 58 total cases of COVID-19 in the Norton Sound region. At least 46 of those are considered recovered while 12 are active.

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

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