At the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic, many rural communities acted quickly to impose strict quarantine measures in order to keep the virus out of their tight-knit towns. That was largely successful in stalling the spread of COVID-19.
But in the past several weeks that’s started to change. Clusters of cases have flared up in dozens of villages across the state.
Gambell, Quinhagak, Stebbins, Buckland and Utqiagvik have reported recent cluster outbreaks. Some of those villages had case counts that grew quickly to dozens of people. Rural cases make up just over one in 10 reported cases statewide. Still the sudden rapid growth is a worrying sign, say local residents and health officials.