March 12, 2020
  • HB 29: Insurance Coverage for Telehealth Passes the House and Senate
  • Coronavirus Confirmed in Alaska
  • PFD Filing Deadline Reminder
  • Join me for a virtual meeting on Saturday at 10am!
HB 29: Insurance Coverage for Telehealth Passes the House & Senate, is on to Governor for Signing
After two years of work, this week HB 29: Insurance Coverage for Telehealth passed the Senate and was affirmed in a concurrence vote by the House! Now, it is heading to the Governor's desk to be signed into law.
Alaska has been at the forefront of providing health care via telehealth for those cared covered by Medicaid and the Tribal health system. HB 29 ensures the 15% of Alaskans--about 109,000 of us---who covered by private plans have access to telehealth too.
Its passage is timely because telehealth is an important tool for responding to COVID-19 by ensuring access to care while minimizing possible transmission of the virus.
First Case of COVID-19 Confirmed in Alaska
I have heard from many people who are worried about COVID-19 spreading in Alaska and I wanted to provide you with the best information we have.
This evening Governor Dunleavy and Alaska Chief Medical Officer Dr. Anne Zink confirmed that Alaska has its first confirmed case of coronavirus. The patient is a foreign national who came to Alaska on a cargo flight through the Ted Stevens Airport.
Governor Dunleavy issued a Public Health disaster Emergency Declaration yesterday. You can get the latest information on the number of tests and cases in Alaska at the State of Alaska's Dept. of Health & Social Services website.
What is Coronavirus?
Coronavirus, also known as COVID-19 ('CO' stands for corona, 'VI' for virus, and 'D' is for disease) is an infectious disease that causes severe respiratory illness. Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses which cause illnesses like the common cold. COVID-19 is not the same as the flu-- COVID-19 is more transmissible and has has a higher fatality rate than the flu, although the disease is so new that research is still being done to determine exactly how infectious and lethal it really is.
Symptoms of Coronavirus
According to the Centers for Disease Control, symptoms of COVID-19 include mild to severe respiratory illness with a fever, dry cough, and difficulty breathing. These symptoms may appear anywhere from 2-14 days after exposure.
How is COVID-19 Transmitted?
COVID-19 is mainly spread through respiratory droplets expelled by someone who coughs, sneezes, or exhales. The viruses within the droplets persist for a period of hours or days, so cleaning high-contact hard surfaces is important.
Who is at Risk?
According to the World Health Organization, most people (about 80%) recover from the disease without needing special treatment. Around 1 out of every 6 people who gets COVID-19 becomes seriously ill and develops difficulty breathing.
People who are higher risk of becoming very sick from COVID-19 include:
  • Adults 60+ years old
  • People with serious chronic medical conditions, like:
  • Heart disease
  • Diabetes
  • Lung disease
People with fever, cough, and difficulty breathing should seek medical attention.
Protecting Yourself and Others
If you have fever, cough, and difficulty breathing, seek medical care early to reduce the risk of developing a more severe infection and be sure to share any recent travel history with your health care provider.
Everyone should take the following steps to stay healthy:

  • Wash your hands frequently for at least 20 seconds. Washing your hands with soap and water or using alcohol-based hand rub kills viruses that may be on your hands.
  • Maintain social distancing. Maintain at least 6 feet distance between yourself and anyone who is coughing or sneezing.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth. Your hands touch many surfaces and can pick up viruses. Once contaminated, hands can transfer the virus to your eyes, nose, or mouth. From there, the virus can enter your body and can make you sick.
  • Make sure you, and the people around you, follow good respiratory hygiene. This means covering your mouth and nose with your elbow or a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Dispose of used tissues immediately.
  • Stay home if you feel unwell. If you have a fever, cough, and difficulty breathing, seek medical attention and call in advance. Follow the directions of your local health authority.
More Information
File for Your PFD by March 31st!
Don't forget to file for your PFD before March 31st!
The Alaska Permanent Fund Division is urging Alaskans to file as soon as possible, in case COVID-19 comes to Alaska and prevents the department from offering in-person assistance. They will continue to provide assistance via e-mail and phone whenever possible.
Join Me for Coffee...Online!
Saturday, March 14th, 10 am - 11 am
Please join me via Facebook Live on March 14th from 10:00 am to 11:00 am to discuss the budget, legislation, and your ideas to make our community and our state the best we can be. You can RSVP on Facebookand feel free to invite your friends and family!
I have decided to temporarily host our monthly coffee event online in order to avoid any possible transmission within a group setting. Feel free to contact me via Facebook, email, or phone if you have questions.
As always, keep in touch!
Phone Number: (907) 465-4940