Health

Plastic buckets used for human waste, known as "honeybuckets," await pickup outside a home in Teller on Sept. 2, 2021. Teller is one of the Bering Strait villages lacking piped water service or flush toilets; residents use plastic-bag-lined buckets for toilets, with the contents collected for disposal by a city crew. (Photo by Yereth Rosen/Alaska Beacon)

Study links lack of running water to prevalence of ear infections among rural Alaska children

BY: - September 26, 2022

Bering Strait region children in households without running water are much more likely to get middle-ear infections, a newly published study confirmed. Data from screenings of more than 1,600 schoolchildren in various communities in that part of western Alaska found that lack of running water – a chronic problem in rural Alaska – corresponded to […]

Public can weigh in on how Alaska should use millions of opioid settlement money

BY: - September 23, 2022

The Alaska public has a chance through the end of September to weigh in on how the state should spend its share of a landmark settlement over pharmaceutical companies’ role in the nation’s opioid epidemic. The total amount coming to state and local governments in Alaska is $58.5 million from drug manufacturer Janssen/Johnson & Johnson, […]

U.S. Republican Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia speaks at a press conference outside the U.S. Capitol on Tuesday, Sept. 20, on her legislation to make it a felony to perform gender-affirming care on transgender youth. (Photo by Jennifer Shutt/States Newsroom)

Marjorie Taylor Greene leads GOP drive to criminalize gender-affirming care for transgender youth

BY: - September 20, 2022

WASHINGTON — Conservative Republicans gathered outside the U.S. Capitol on Tuesday to commit to bringing legislation to the floor that would make it a felony to perform gender-affirming care on transgender youth, should the GOP take control of the U.S. House following the November midterm elections.  “How on earth can this be happening in America? […]

WASHINGTON, DC - MAY 17: Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Dr. Anthony Fauci testifies during the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education, and Related Agencies hearing to examine proposed budget estimates for fiscal year 2023 for the National Institutes of Health on Capitol Hill on May 17, 2022 in Washington, DC.

U.S. senators criticize federal health officials for lagging monkeypox response

BY: - September 14, 2022

WASHINGTON — Congress held its first hearing on monkeypox Wednesday, with lawmakers rebuking federal public health officials for their slow response to the outbreak, even though the hearing came four months after the first U.S. case was diagnosed. “By any measure, in fact by every measure, the response from the Biden administration on the monkeypox […]

A sign directs visitors on Sept. 9 to a site for COVID-19 testing at the Alaska Native Health Campus. The Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium has already closed its walk-up test site, and the drive-through site is scheduled to be closed on Sept. 29. Demand for such testing has dropped, in part because of the availability of in-home tests. More than two years after the pandemic arrived in Alaska, the state Department of Health, ANTHC and other health organizations are gearing up for distribution of new vaccine boosters. (Photo by Yereth Rosen/Alaska Beacon)

First shipment of new COVID-19 booster signals shift in fight against disease

BY: - September 10, 2022

More than two years after the COVID-19 pandemic reached Alaska, the fight against the disease is pivoting from testing to vaccine boosting. Fall is here and winter is coming, and health officials are encouraging Alaskans to view vaccine boosters as part of the normal preparation for the time of year when people spend more time […]

Jeremy Wong smokes an e-cigarette in 2018 in California. On Friday, Alaska Gov. Mike Dunleavy vetoed a bill that included a tax on electronic smoking products that contain nicotine. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

Alaska governor vetoes bill to tax e-cigs and raise minimum age for tobacco

BY: - September 9, 2022

Alaska Gov. Mike Dunleavy on Friday vetoed a bill that would have raised the minimum age to purchase and legally possess tobacco products from 19 to 21 years old. The bill also included a tax on electronic smoking products that contain nicotine, which is what Dunleavy took issue with. Currently, Alaska has a cigarette tax […]

The rising sun lights the sky over frozen Norton Sound in Nome on the morning of the 2018 winter solistice. (Photo by Yereth Rosen/Alaska Beacon)

Use of new 988 suicide and crisis hotline shows Alaskans are willing to seek help, officials say

BY: - September 9, 2022

Alaska in July switched its suicide hotline system to an easy-to-dial 988 hotline, calls have increased by 22% – an indication that more people in crisis are reaching out for help and now know how to do so, state health officials and suicide prevention experts said on Thursday. Increased use of the line is a […]

A patient receives her booster dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccine during an Oakland County Health Department vaccination clinic at the Southfield Pavilion on August 24, 2021, in Southfield, Michigan.(Photo by Emily Elconin/Getty Images)

COVID-19 vaccine may become annual, like flu shot

BY: - September 6, 2022

WASHINGTON — COVID-19 boosters shots are on track to become as frequent as the annual flu shot, though high-risk people may need more than one dose per year, Biden administration officials said Tuesday.  “For a large majority of Americans, we are moving to a point where a single annual COVID shot should provide a high […]

Lalain Reyeg administers a COVID-19 booster vaccine and an influenza vaccine to Army veteran Gary Nasakaitis at the Edward Hines Jr. VA Hospital on September 24, 2021, in Hines, Illinois. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

CDC endorses updated COVID-19 vaccine boosters for this fall

BY: - September 2, 2022

WASHINGTON — The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention late Thursday signed off on the approval from the agency’s independent vaccine advisers that recommended an updated coronavirus vaccine booster this fall. The CDC recommended boosters from Pfizer-BioNTech for those who are 12 years old and older and from Moderna for those who are 18 and […]

The entrance to the Anchorage Correctional Complex is seen on Aug. 29, 2022. (Photo by Yereth Rosen/Alaska Beacon)

Two people die after just one day in Alaska corrections custody this month

BY: - August 31, 2022

Janet Minock got a knock on her apartment door the morning of Aug. 23. It was two Anchorage Police Department officers telling her that her 35-year-old daughter, Nastashia Minock, was dead. According to Janet Minock, the police officers told her this: Nastashia was found unresponsive at Hiland Mountain Correctional Center around 1:30 a.m. Aug. 23. […]

Bartlett Regional Hospital's main entrance.

Former Juneau hospital senior employee arrested Thursday for theft  

BY: - August 25, 2022

A former senior level employee at Juneau’s hospital was arrested early Thursday evening for allegedly stealing $108,000 from the medical institution. Bradley Grigg, former chief behavioral health officer at Bartlett Regional Hospital, was indicted in Juneau Superior Court on Thursday on two counts of theft in the first degree. Bartlett Regional Hospital is owned by […]

A COVID-19 testing site operated by the Arctic Slope Native Association is seen on Aug. 2 in Utqiagvik. The pandemic put new demands on an Alaska healthcare workforce that was already suffering from staff shortages. (Photo by Yereth Rosen/Alaska Beacon)

Alaska’s COVID ‘superstorm’ experience of 2021 offers lessons for future pandemics, study says

BY: - August 24, 2022

Alaska’s experience with the delta wave that emerged in the COVID-19 pandemic is likened to a “superstorm” in a new study that compares pandemic patterns in regions across the Arctic. The study, by a research group at the University of Northern Iowa that is focusing on COVID-19 in the Arctic, was published on Aug. 17 […]