BETHEL, Alaska (AP) — All residents in a small Alaska community who submitted to coronavirus testing have shown negative results, although not everyone agreed to testing, health officials said.
The Yukon-Kuskokwim Health Corp. found there were no new cases of the virus in the tests conducted in Napaskiak, KYUK-AM reported Tuesday.
The first Napaskiak resident tested positive for COVID-19 June 15.
After the positive test result, the health corporation screened 263 residents, accounting for 64% of the village’s population. The testing indicated a positive infection in a second person.
The corporation sent a team to the village to conduct additional tests from June 26 to July 1, with 156 residents volunteering to be screened.
The corporation announced July 6 that all the results from the second round of tests were negative.
Napaskiak Tribal Administrator Sharon Williams said the village lifted its “hunker down” mandate July 5.
Residents were humiliated and discriminated against after the two positive tests in the village, Williams said.
Napaskiak residents were turned away from businesses in the nearby hub community of Bethel, despite adhering to proper COVID-19 health protocols, Williams said.
Williams blamed the Yukon-Kuskokwim Health Corp. for disclosing the likely existence of community spread after the positive tests and notifying all its employees that anyone traveling to Napaskiak must be tested.
For most people, the coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough that clear up in two to three weeks. But for some — especially older adults and people with existing health problems — it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia and death.
The number of infections is thought to be far higher because many people have not been tested, and studies suggest people can be infected with the virus without feeling sick.