A quarter of Iliamna and Newhalen's residents test positive for COVID-19 as the outbreak slows

Oct 1, 2021

Despite the spike, the number of cases is trending down. Of the positive cases, up to 42% are in those who've been vaccinated. The rest are in unvaccinated individuals, with the majority being in kids age 0-12.

Credit KDLG/Izzy Ross

  

The communities of Iliamna and Newhalen have experienced an outbreak of COVID-19 cases this month.

There were 66 active cases in the communities as of Tuesday Sept. 28. That’s almost a quarter of the population. But Southcentral Foundation’s Iliamna Lake Region Manager Dustin Parker said that’s actually an improvement.

"We did peak at 74 cases," Parker said. "That’s trending now in a positive direction. Many of those folks have recovered. The trend is trending in our favor and people are getting better.”

The vaccination rate in Iliamna and Newhalen is just under 70%. It is around 90% in all other communities in the Lake and Peninsula Borough. Parker said the number of breakthrough cases in Iliamna and Newhalen is up to 42% of the active cases.

“The rest of them were unvaccinated and of those unvaccinated numbers, most of them were children zero to 12.” Parker said.

The communities shut down on September 17. The school in Newhalen is closed, following the Lake and Peninsula School District’s COVID-19 mitigation plans. But with case numbers trending down, Parker says the school could move to reopen in a week.

“They will make that determination based upon the numbers we receive today from the tests that we conducted locally yesterday," he said. "We collected just under 70 COVID tests and sent them out for PCR review.”

Parker added that the Southcentral Foundation has a small amount of the monoclonal antibodies used to treat COVID-19. The foundation has administered 14 doses to people who were eligible for that treatment.

Parker encouraged everyone to follow local Tribal and municipal COVID-19 mandates to help protect their neighbors.

“It’s really important to test before coming home," Parker said. "It’s really important to monitor your symptoms. And if you don’t feel well, make an appointment at the clinic to get tested. And until you get that test that clears you and makes you safe to be in your community -- obviously social distance, wash your hands, wear your mask -- the things that we’ve been talking about for the last year plus.”

If you are in the Lake Iliamna region, contact your local health clinic or the Southcentral Foundation for more information on where to get tested or vaccinated. 

Contact the author at tyler@kdlg.org or 907-842-2200

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