A native village located between the Alaska Highway and Tanana River in Alaska restricted visitors from outside. They placed a gate at the only road for entering the village. And the villagers then guarded the door round the clock. Similar practices were seen back in date during the deadly Spanish flu pandemic.
The method worked well for the village as only one death due to the Covid-19 virus was reported. Apart from it, only 20 people fell sick out of the population of 140.
Rural Alaska hospitals are working under distress as Covid-19 Cases Rise.
These methods may work for a village or two, but the long battle against Covid-19 is still on. The highly contagious Delta variant that has entered Alaska is spreading significantly. The spread of the Delta variant is a cause of serious concern for Alaska as the hospital facilities are hours away from the village.
Alaska holds a limited health care system which worsens the situation for the residents. The villagers are highly dependent on the hospitals in Anchorage, the biggest city. The largest hospital in the state resides in Anchorage, the Providence Alaska Medical Center.
The medical center is overwhelmed with Covid-19 patients and was among the first hospitals to declare crisis-of-care protocols. The protocol gives the doctors the right to prioritize medical care based on the chances of survival. Following this, 19 other medical facilities in Alaska also declared the crisis-of-care protocols. These hospitals included Fairbanks Memorial and also two more health care facilities in Alaska.
Other than Alaska, Idaho and Wyoming also had to declare the crisis-of-care protocols seeing the out surge of Covid-19 patients.
To overcome the crisis, Alaska contracted with over 500 medical professionals to provide help for the coming few months. The decision is of prime importance for the residents of rural Alaska as some professional health will be available to them if they fall sick. The beds are not available for upcoming Covid-19 patients or for patients other than that.
The spokesperson for Providence Alaska Medical Center said, “a patient who needed dialysis died as he could not get it in Providence.” Dr. Kristen, the hospital’s chief of staff, said, ” a patient lost his life waiting for cardiac catheterization.”Health officials are blaming the hospitals’ limited staffing for the crisis in the rural area.
Alaska is undergoing a surge with rising Covid-19 cases and low vaccination rates. 61% of eligible citizens in Alaska are fully vaccinated. JohnHopkins University’s data shows that between September 22 and 29, one in every 84 people in Alaska tested positive for Covid-19. It marked the United State’s worst diagnosis rate in recent days.
Officials state, “the medical workers are exhausted from working against the Covid-19 virus. The health care workers are continuously working on eliminating the misinformation about the Covid-19 and people’s insecurity about the vaccine, but it all looks to be in vain.”
Dr. Jared, the president and CEO of the Alaska State Hospital, describes the gut-wrenching decisions they have to make, ” we follow the protocols in place. Losing any of the patients is not what we want, but with every death, a relief about another bed being open for others arrives.” He added, ” these mixed feelings are traumatizing to all the medical workers, and we don’t know ways to cope up with it.”