Tanana village

A quiet street in Tanana, which has implemented travel restrictions to prevent spread of the coronavirus.

Tanana Chiefs Conference has taken a number of actions to help address the ongoing outbreak of the new coronavirus and the related COVID-19 disease. On Thursday, the Fairbanks-based Alaska Native nonprofit set up a drive-thru COVID-19 testing station for patients of Chief Andrew Isaac Health Center. The organization also recently sent out $7,500 in emergency funds to each of the 37 villages that it serves.

“We’re not telling them how to spend it. We’re just telling them it’s to help with the COVID-19 outbreak,” said Victor Joseph, chief and chairman, in an interview Monday.

In addition, Tanana Chiefs is issuing guidelines to the health aides it has stationed in almost all of the villages. According to Joseph, each village has one to three health aide positions, depending on the size of the population, although there are a couple of village clinics that have vacancies.

“We have issued guidelines to our health aides. We have discussed this with all the tribal Leadership in the communities that we serve in our health service area,” he said. “Unfortunately, I do have three clinics without health aides.”

Tanana Chiefs is also using various forms of telecommunication health services and limiting elective or nonurgent medical services. Joseph urged anyone living in one of the villages without a clinic who is exhibiting symptoms to call the Chief Andrew Isaac Health Center at 1-800-478-6682.

“Limit your exposure to one another, stay in place if you can — and, if you can’t, keep social distancing,” he said. “We need to flatten this curve.”

Contact staff writer Alistair Gardiner at 459-7575. Follow him on Twitter: @FDNMoutdoors.