In the fight to mitigate the spread of COVID-19, time is of the essence. Early screening is key to identifying and isolating infected individuals. However, many rural communities lack necessary lab equipment and infrastructure to perform tests locally. In some of Alaska’s most remote tribal communities, tests must be sent away for results, forcing doctors and patients to wait multiple days for answers.
Seeing this need, Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium (ANTHC) stepped in to ship rapid test kits to many regional tribal health organizations. On April 8, 40 test analyzers with 48 COVID-19 test kits each were disseminated, with anticipation of an ongoing supply to follow. These tests will provide same-day results, which can help prevent the widespread outbreak of the novel Coronavirus in a community. Dr. Holly Alfrey, chief medical officer at Alaska Native Medical Hospital, encourages everyone with symptoms to utilize this opportunity for testing.
In addition to equipping clinics with needed supplies, ANTHC is providing a reliable source of information to local Alaskan communities. Through video public service announcements and relevant articles, ANTHC is sharing valuable advice for respiratory health and Coronavirus prevention. These actions are just a few examples of the life-saving impact of ANTHC and similar nonprofits, sustaining hospitals and clinics in the Pacific Northwest in the face of unprecedented challenges.
We are inspired by the expertise and sacrifice of those in the health sector who stand on the front lines of this pandemic to nurture others and serve the common good and we are grateful to have the opportunity to support their work.