Seventh regional resident tests positive, fifth case has conflicting test results
On Tuesday, another regional resident tested positive for COVID-19, bringing the region’s tally up to seven. However, the resident is currently working elsewhere in Alaska and had not traveled recently. “State officials say the patient’s infectious period was limited to their current location,” according to an NSHC press release. The case only counts as local for official counting purposes, bringing the total number of active cases to two, with five recovered cases, as of Tuesday.
On Saturday, Norton Sound Health Corporation released further details on the fifth positive case of COVID-19 in the Bering Strait/Norton Sound region. Although the patient, a resident of one of the villages, initially tested positive for COVID-19 on Friday, June 12, a subsequent test hours later produced a negative result. NSHC sent an additional swab to the State of Alaska Laboratory and on Saturday that result came back negative. Despite the conflicting results, NSHC still treated that case as a true positive as per State of Alaska guidelines, according to NSHC Public Relations Manager Reba Lean. “It is too risky to consider any conflicting results anything other than positives,” Lean told the Nugget. She said that false positives are possible, but much less likely than false negatives.
Immediately after the conflicting results came back, the patient began isolating, Public Health Nursing began tracing their contacts, and a response team was dispatched to the patient’s community. According to an NSHC press release, nearly 40 percent of the patient’s community was tested, and all results came back negative. While NSHC did not specify which village the patient came from, the village was identified as Teller. As of Saturday June 20, the patient is considered fully recovered after two negative tests 24 hours apart.
In the past week, Alaska saw 102 new resident cases, 52 new nonresident cases, 73 new recoveries, and no new deaths. DHSS officials reported the highest number of new cases on Tuesday, with 35 new patients, 16 Alaska residents and 19 nonresidents. As of Tuesday, the state has 907 total cases (778 residents and 129 nonresidents), 502 recoveries, and 12 deaths.