The chief of staff of a Bethel, Alaska health corporation is telling residents in the area to stop riding their bikes. Also their all-terrain vehicles because they might get hurt. In fact, they shouldn’t do any activity that can pose a physical risk. The hospitals are full, she said.
“In a word, it is in crisis. Perhaps collapsing,” Yukon-Kuskokwim Health Corporation Chief of Staff Dr. Ellen Hodges said to the Bethel City Council on Tuesday, as reported by KYUK public radio.
“Don’t ride your bike or ATV. Wear your seatbelt and drive the speed limit. Take good care of your health, taking all your prescribed medications,” Hodges said. To decrease the chance of seeking health care, Hodges warned “against any activity that could pose a physical risk,” KYUK reported.
Bethel recently instituted a mask mandate for anyone occupying a public space, and has mandatory Covid-19 testing for anyone arriving via Alaska Airlines in the western Alaska town of 6,472 residents.
In addition to the medical establishment telling people not riding bikes or ATVs, the city government is taking vaccine mandates to another level. The city manager is mandating all employees must be vaccinated within the next 8 days.
Bethel City Employee union member Corbin Ford told the council that some city employees will lose their jobs because of this mandate, KYUK reported.
“You’re losing approximately 50% of the Police Department and 15% of the total workforce for the city of Bethel,” For said, according to the news organization. Police Chief Richard Simmons told the news organization that he hopes the city manager will change his mind before he loses half of the police force.
Dr. Hodges told the city council that the health system in Bethel is collapsing, and that there are few staffed beds in intensive care units around the state.
In fact, a Bethel patient was evacuated to Fairbanks for treatment this week, when normally Bethel patients are brought to Anchorage.
Dr. Anne Zink, the chief medical officer for the State of Alaska, told Must Read Alaska on Wednesday that medevacs are indeed taking unusual criss-cross routes around the state, a situation not seen before, because patients are being taken to wherever they can get treatment. Mat-Su Regional Medical Center has also seen patients coming in via medevac from Bethel, she said, although at present, are at capacity with their staffed ICU beds.