Nome hospital closed to the public after employee tests positive for COVID-19

Nome’s Norton Sound Regional Hospital. (Laura Kraegel/KNOM)

A Norton Sound Health Corporation employee in Nome tested positive for COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus. The corporation made that announcement Thursday night, confirming the Bering Strait region’s second case thus far.

According to NSHC, the positive COVID-19 result was found through routine employee testing at the regional hospital in Nome. The corporation says all of their Nome facilities will be closed to the public throughout the day Friday. While the employee self-isolates, NSHC will undergo a four-day cleaning and do immediate COVID-19 testing on all of its Nome-based staff.

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It is unknown how the NSHC employee contracted the virus, but the State’s Section of Epidemiology is working with the individual to do contact tracing at this time.

NSHC’s spokesperson Reba Lean could not be reached for further comment before publication.

Norton Sound Health Corporation says it will continue to offer COVID-19 testing for all residents of the Bering Strait region, whether they’re displaying symptoms or not.

Editor’s note: The headline for this story has been corrected to reflect that the hospital was only closed to the public on Friday. It is now reopened.