Savoonga has just seen a major spike in COVID-19 cases. Norton Sound Health Corporation reported identifying 70 new cases of COVID-19 in Savoonga over the weekend of Oct. 30. On Nov. 2, NSHC announced a total of 113 active cases in the St. Lawrence Island community.

At the Nov. 1 meeting of the Nome Public Safety Advisory Commission, Nome City Manager Glenn Steckman noted that the situation in Savoonga likely isn’t quite as alarming as it might seem.

“One of the reasons why Savoonga seems to have high numbers … is because (NSHC) went in there with aggressive testing to determine how widespread the delta variant was,” Steckman said.

The Alaska Department of Health and Social Services sequences cases of COVID-19 in the state to track the spread of variants. DHSS reports that 100% of cases sequenced in October were delta-variant cases.

In Nome, the active case count dropped from 103 on Oct. 28 to 87 on Nov. 1. This overall drop is in spite of NSHC identifying 26 new cases in Nome over the weekend of Oct. 30.

On Nov. 2, NSHC reported a total of 236 active cases of COVID-19 in the Norton Sound and Bering Strait region as a whole: 113 in Savoonga, 87 in Nome, 12 in Brevig Mission, eight each in Gambell and Elim, seven in Unalakleet and one in Wales.

Image at top: The COVID-19 Virus. Photo credit: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.