Photo: Yukon-Kuskokwim Health Corporation

With a jump from 1% to 5% in people testing positive for coronovirus in the last two weeks in the Bethel Census Area, Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta regional health officials are asking residents to stop gathering with non-household members in an attempt to slow the spread of the virus.

The rate for positive tests is more than 3% in the Kusilvak Census Area, according to the Yukon-Kuskokwim Health Corporation. The villages of Chevak, Kasigluk, Kipnuk, and Quinhagak are currently in COVID lockdown.

Health officials say they are conducting about the same number of tests with significantly more positive results recently, and that the rapid increase has surpassed testing capabilities in the region.

They say they believe the number is actually higher because many of those infected with the virus may not exhibit symptoms and not get tested.

Studies suggest that most of those infected only experience mild or moderate systems, which normally clear up in a couple weeks. For others, including those who are vulnerable do to pre-existing health conditions and elders, the disease can be deadly.

Health officials say their investigations suggest the spread in COVID-19 comes from people gathering with family and friends.

Residents are being urged to stop hosting and attending gatherings with people outside of their households, suggesting one person infected more than 40 others when visiting community members.