Over the last three days, Norton Sound Health Corporation announced ten new cases of COVID-19 in the Norton Sound. Roughly half of those patients are considered Nome residents.

According to NSHC, the first case was confirmed on Thanksgiving Day. That individual is a Nome resident, but NSHC says how they contracted the virus is still being determined.

Similarly, on Saturday, the regional health corporation identified another Nome resident who tested positive, but the origin of that case is under investigation.

Three other cases are considered close contacts of a previously confirmed COVID-19 case in Nome. Three patients are non-residents of the region and tested positive through the City of Nome’s travel and quarantine requirements. Another positive case is a local NSHC employee. The regional health corporation says that employee’s exposure to patients was limited.

And the latest case of COVID-19 is a resident of the Norton Sound region, however NSHC did not disclose which community the individual is from. As of today, this is the only active case currently in any of the regional villages. According to NSHC, Gambell has not had a new positive case in almost two months [since October 5th], while Stebbins has not reported a positive case since November 10th.

Both of those communities enforced local hunker down or lockdown mandates and limited residents’ interactions outside of their households to prevent the spread of the virus. NSHC believes Gambell and Stebbins have demonstrated that COVID-19 outbreaks can be quelled if residents follow proper quarantine and isolation requirements.

As of today, NSHC says there are 57 active COVID-19 cases in the region and all positive patients are currently located in Nome. At last count, Nome had a total of 54 active cases ahead of the Thanksgiving holiday.

Image at top: COVID-19 cloth face masks produced by FabLabs in the Bering Strait School District. Photo from Chase Ervin, BSSD, used with permission (2020).

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