KCAM Asks State To Improve Coronavirus Reports For Copper Valley

Scott Yahr At KCAM Gets Governor's Office To Consider Improving Copper Valley's Understanding Of Our Test Results Scott Yahr at ...

Scott Yahr At KCAM Gets Governor's Office To Consider Improving Copper Valley's Understanding Of Our Test Results

Scott Yahr at a Checkpoint in The Copper Basin 300. (Photo, Country Journal)
Scott Yahr at KCAM, concerned about the lack of accurate coronavirus figures in the Copper Valley, brought up the topic at the Governor's Coronavirus Press Conference on July 22nd. It is next to impossible to fully understand how many people in the Copper Valley have Covid-19. 

But the number is growing. The problem is that the Copper Valley, which is made of dozens of small communities, including Native villages, is also part of the Valdez-Cordova Census area. The state, which believes that revealing the names of affected villages that are under 1,000 people in size is a violation of privacy laws, only lists the Copper Valley's numbers as part of the larger "Valdez-Cordova Census Area" figures.

Scott Yahr said: "In the last couple of weeks we've had a larger outbreak in the Copper River Valley... because we're in an unorganized area [lumped with  Valdez-Cordova and Whittier] we don't know specifically numbers for our area. And not knowing how many cases there truly are among local residents creates fear, frustration and even stress as well as lots of rumors... Is there a way we can get state numbers broken out for our region? We have between 2,000 and 3,000 people. I understand not giving numbers for communities of 1,000 or less. If we are a group – 'the Copper River Basin' – that would help protect privacy but also give us accurate numbers for our valley community."

Dr. Anne Zink told Scott Yahr that a similar problem had occurred in parts of the Kenai Peninsula and had apparently been solved. "We'll take it back to the data team and take a good look at it," she said. She said she wants to make sure people in the Copper Valley get the information they need while still protecting privacy.

"We'll work on that," added the Governor.

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