Rep. Adam Wool's Update: COVID-19 Resources and Updates 

How control measures including frequent hand washing and social distancing can impact the burden of COVID-19 on the health care system 

 

Coronavirus Resources and Updates 
 

Friends, Neighbors, and Fellow Fairbanksans, 

As everyone is likely more than aware by now, the novel Coronavirus has made its way to Alaska, with positive cases now in the Fairbanks area. I know this is likely a stressful and uncertain time for you and for your family, and I wish everyone the very best as we all work to protect ourselves and others during this pandemic. 

The latest thoughts regarding COVID-19 from public health officials are that a large percentage of the population will at some point become infected with the virus. While for most people symptoms will be no worse than a typical flu, there will be a much larger volume of people needing more extensive health care than there are for a typical flu. More than anything, this taxes our health care systems and it will be very challenging to try and treat everyone with the virus simultaneously. Slowing the virus down by practicing social distancing and through frequent hand washing is beneficial to what experts call "flattening the curve"- basically spreading out the cases of the virus over a longer period of time so that fewer people become sick at once. This is why it is so important to stay home and away from others, even if you are not feeling sick. This is the only way to prevent the healthcare system from being overrun, as there will be more cases.

The State Legislature is working to take measures to try and help with the public health and economic burden related to the virus. There are efforts underway to help with loosening unemployment insurance requirements as well as to get Federal aid for workers, families, and businesses to continue to stay afloat. Right now, the State is working at a lightning pace to finish the Operating and Capital budget discussions, just in case the Legislature needs to adjourn prior to our 90 day time frame.

 

On the local level, the Fairbanks Memorial Hospital is monitoring disease incidence, and there are plans in the works to set up a drive-through testing site across from the Tanana Valley Clinic on Noble Street as a way to test individuals without exposing them to others, since the virus is highly contagious and we want to keep healthcare workers safe. We will continue to work and do what we can to help with the crisis as it evolves. 

In the meantime, the Fairbanks Memorial Hospital has set up a hotline that you can call for information about ways to protect yourself from the virus and to help determine if you should seek medical care or if you need a test. In order to slow the growth of disease as much as possible, it is important to test people so that they know to quarantine themselves. We do need more test kits and hopefully they’ll be coming soon so that we can test more people in the drive-up line that is being set up. If you are concerned you may be exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19, please call 211 or 1-800-478-2221 to get more information from health care providers.

 

The Alaska Department of Health and Social Services has set up a COVID-19 hotline, which can be reached at either 2-1-1 or and 1-800-478-2221

 

Fairbanks Shuts Down Schools and Public Spaces
 

The Fairbanks North Star Borough has made the decision to close public libraries, pools, and other public spaces as a way to help contain spread of COVID-19 in Fairbanks. The full list of closures can be found at this link: http://www.newsminer.com/alerts/covid--closures-and-postponements-around-interior-alaska/article_60e6e4d0-64b2-11ea-bde5-7338af330172.html

In addition, all public schools across the State are closed until after March 30, which leaves many parents with added stress of caring for kids at home who would normally be busy with school as well as after school activities. For parents that may be struggling with finding lunch options for their kids, the picture below shows a few businesses that are offering free lunches to children, including The Hungry Robot, Spice It Up, Food Factory, Pizza Hut, and others. 

The COVID-19 situation is developing rapidly, and this causes stress and uncertainty for nearly everyone across Alaska and around the world. I encourage people to ask questions, to take actions to protect their own health and the health of others, to listen to medical advice, and to have patience with one another as we navigate this time together. 

 

Some restaurants around Fairbanks are offering free daily lunch options for kids that are impacted by school closures  

 

 

Rep. Hopkins and I will be available to answer questions at our Facebook Live event at 4pm on March 21

 

Constituent Meeting This Saturday, March 21 at 4:00pm via Facebook Live
 

This Saturday, Representative Grier Hopkins and I will be hosting a constituent meeting over Facebook Live, which is a change from our previous effort to host a meeting in Fairbanks. The meeting will still be  at 4:00pm on my Rep. Adam Wool, Fairbanks District 5 Facebook page, and is open to people from our districts as well as across Fairbanks. Please get online on your phone or computer and feel free ask us your questions about the COVID-19 situation, the State budget, legislation, or anything else you might like to discuss. We would love to "see" you there!

 

Best Wishes,