Rural Alaska at risk as COVID surge floods distant hospitals

A rural Alaska knows what to do to prevent COVID-19. They installed gates at the entrances to the city and guarded it at all hours. It’s an idea that was used a century ago in some remote rural areas to protect outsiders during another deadly disease: the Spanish plague.

It worked very well. Only one person died from COVID-19 and 20 patients were injured in Tanacross, a 140-acre Athabascan town with its flat log home and other buildings between the Alaska Highway and the Tanana River.

But the fight against the coronavirus has not stopped. The delta fly variation is spreading across Alaska, driving one of the largest disease developments in the country and posing a threat to a remote port like Tanacross, where the closest hospital is just hours away.

Alaska’s health care system has an ever-increasing COVID-19 cap based on a hospital in Anchorage, the largest city. It’s where the largest hospital in the state, Providence Alaska Medical Center, is packed with patients. It was last week to announce a crisis care plan, which means that doctors are offering part-time care depending on who has the best chance of surviving.

Since then, 19 other health care facilities in Alaska, including two Anchorage and Fairbanks Memorial hospitals, have been in crisis care situations, more than any other state has to do, including Idaho and Wyoming.

Tanacross Elder Alfred Jonathan said: “Although we live here, we are very concerned about Anchorage in Fairbanks.” If someone gets sick there, there is no place to take them. “

While Alaska has joined with up to 500 healthcare workers to help in the coming months, the punishment is severe for those in rural Alaska if they need high-quality care, for COVID-19, and something else, but there is no clothing available.

Other times, healthcare professionals are on the phone, in some cases for hours, looking for clothing or equipment that can provide specialized treatment, such as diarrhea.

A terminally ill patient in Providence has died, hospital spokesman Mikal Canfield said. Dr. Kristen Solana Walkinshaw, the hospital’s chief of staff, said she knew a patient in the field who needed a catheter and died of pneumonia.

There are too many options available in Seattle and Portland, Oregon.

Healthcare providers blame hospital complications and short staffing, rising COVID-19 rates, and low immunization rates in Alaska, where 61% of adults in the safe state are vaccinated. According to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University, one in 84 people in Alaska detected COVID-19 between September 22 and 29, the worst national testing rate in recent days.

Somefud says it may have long-term effects: increasing confidence in vaccinating and treating other diseases, as well as alleviating the pre-epidemic challenges of admitting healthcare workers in remote states.

Healthcare professionals “describe the impact of:” The code rings, people pass, “said Jared Kosin, president, and president of the Alaska State Hospital and Nursing Home Association. He doesn’t want the patient to die. It’s heartbreaking “.

At Tanacross, adults encourage people to get vaccinated, especially when there are problems. This city is in the rapidly expanding state of Alaska, where vaccination is below 50%.

Who is not vaccinated? God, we’re scared of them, “said Jonathan, who led the crew to clean up dead and dying wood to reduce fuel burn and provide firewood to heat the house.

His wife, Mildred, helped save the city gate this year. The restrictions came to an end this summer when the incidence of malnutrition appeared to improve.

Alaska, the largest source of disease for working with ethnic health groups to distribute vaccines widely and quickly, ranks 25th in the US for the percentage of population overcrowded, according to Disease Control and Prevention data.

At the hospital, care has “changed,” says Dr. Anne Zink, Alaska’s chief medical officer.

In rural Alaska, six rural towns, including Tanacross, rely on the new Upper Tanana Health Center in downtown Tok, about two hours from the Canadian border. The staff tries their best and motivates those most in need in Anchorage or Fairbanks, Jacoline Bergstrom, medical director of the Tanana Chiefs congregation, a group of 42 Athabascans spread across the Alaska region of nearly all in size. Texas.

Emergencies are planned for people to stay overnight if the hospital bed is not immediately available, said the head of the hospital, Joni Young.

Young said: “If for some reason we cannot leave, we have supported from the beginning to help our patients if necessary.” “We have had cribs before, stored here, and we have another house that we rent that we can use to isolate COVID patients.”

The staff works part-time, while nurses ask callers about COVID-19 on weekends at work. Two nurses must be seen immediately, but few have applied.

Joyce Johnson-Albert lay on a bed in a health facility with an IV in hand. She was vaccinated but contracted a serious illness, suspected at a hunting camp.

“I hope that in the next few days I will be a little better now,” Johnson-Albert said when she received a monoclonal anti-inflammatory drug, which was administered in the form of COVID-19 to reduce symptoms. “It is difficult to say. You can go either way. “

Registered Nurse Angie Cleary appreciates the clinic providing injection treatment.

“Anyway, I was scared some days where we weren’t sure when we would get more,” Cleary said. It may not be next week.

They are fighting a bad battle over a bad disease.

Republican Gov. Mike Dunleavy has been criticized for failing to provide insurance coverage and for failing to promote immunizations the way some would like. He urged people to shoot but said it was a personal decision. Others have accused him of promoting antibiotics and causing panic.

Providence hospital staff are fighting abusive speech, Solana Walkinshaw said. An employee burst into tears when he left work, the chief of staff said.

She said: “We still have people who deny that COVID is implemented, or families who deny COVID as they say it on the iPad, saying goodbye to their loved one.”

Daisy Northway of the Native Tok Association knew it was difficult to advocate for vaccination and said she was “talking until she had a smile” trying to persuade one of her children.

Elder Athabascan said that he encourages people to shoot but somehow reduces political power.