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March 16, 2020
Coronavirus Update: Monday, March 16
The coronavirus is disrupting nearly every aspect of day to day life in Alaska and across the nation. During this time of uncertainty, accurate information is vital in making informed decisions. That’s why we are collecting the most up to date information and passing it along in this newsletter.
The Alaska Department of Health and Social Services has created a special coronavirus webpage that includes the most up to date information for Alaska. The most up to date national information can be found on the COVID-19 webpage from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Remember, we are all in this together, which means we must lookout for the most vulnerable among us.
Earlier today, Anchorage Mayor Ethan Berkowitz signed an emergency order:
- All bars, breweries, and restaurants in Anchorage must close at 5:00 p.m. today for dine-in service through the end of the month
- Drive-thru, take-out, and delivery services are allowed
- All entertainment facilities will close starting at 5:00 p.m. through March 31
- The order covers all theaters, gyms, and bingo halls
- Gatherings of more than 50 people are banned
- There are no restrictions on grocery stores
The Municipality of Anchorage has declared a state of emergency and closed all municipal facilities where large crowds can gather.
Municipal facilities that are closed:
- All municipal libraries
- The Anchorage Museum
- The Egan and Dena’ina Convention Centers
- The Sullivan Arena
- Municipal recreation centers in Mountain View, Fairview, and Spenard
- The Alaska Center for the Performing Arts
- Centennial Campground
- The Kincaid Outdoor Center
- The Lidia Selregg Chalet
- The Mann Leiser Memorial Greenhouse
- All municipal pools
The Catholic Archdiocese of Anchorage has canceled all church-related activities, including masses, until March 27.
- At last report, there are over 182,282 cases of the coronavirus worldwide
- Over 7,140 deaths
- 78,340 people have recovered
- Detected in 162 countries and territories
- Over 4,598 cases in the U.S.
- 86 deaths
- Clinical trials for a vaccine are slated to begin today
- 12 to 18 months until it would be ready for widespread distribution.
- The Food and Drug Administration has approved a new COVID-19 test that should increase the testing capacity across the U.S.
- The CDC recommends limiting gatherings to no more than 50 people.
- The Department of Defense is restricting travel by service members and others in response to the COVID-19 virus
- Alaska is under a public health disaster emergency declaration
- A unified command structure has been set up that includes the Departments of Health and Social Services, Public Safety, and Military and Veterans Affairs
- Alaskans with coronavirus questions can dial 211 on their phones for information
- In places without 211 service, dial 1-800-478-2221
- Alaska 211 is a service of the United Way, and phone workers can direct callers to resources and answers
- The state is limiting visitors to the Alaska Pioneer Homes (Screenings before visits)
- The State of Alaska has closed visitation at:
- Department of Corrections
- Division of Juvenile Justice
- Military Youth Academy
- Alaska Psychiatric Institute
- All 507 public schools in Alaska are closed to students through March 30
- The move impacts 137,000 school-age children and young adults
- Teachers and staff will be doing in-service workdays
- All after school activities are canceled
- 22 states and the District of Columbia have closed schools
University of Alaska
- The University of Alaska is taking steps to end in-person classes
- Starting March 23, the University of Alaska will transition to online classes
- The university is also extending spring break by 1 week
- The university is limited in-person teaching
- The university is canceling large campus events of 25 people or more through March 31
- The University of Alaska system has over 6,500 employees and over 21,000 students
- Alaska Pacific University has canceled all in-person classes through Friday, March 20
How to Prevent the Spread of the Coronavirus
The COVID-19 virus is spread by respiratory droplets expelled from an infected person who coughs, sneezes, or exhales. If you can, prevent any contact with these droplets. Older adults and people who have serious chronic medical conditions like heart disease, diabetes, or lung disease should avoid crowds, especially in poorly ventilated spaces.
Follow these recommendations:
- Wash your hands often for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing
- Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash
- Disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth
- Avoid contact with people who are sick
- Stay home and avoid others when sick
- Postpone large events or gatherings
- Practice social distancing – at least 6 feet apart from others
Symptoms can appear as soon as two days after being infected with the coronavirus, and symptoms can last as long as 14 days.
Be aware of the following:
- The number one symptom of COVID-19 infection is a high fever of over 100.4 degrees. Other symptoms include a dry cough and shortness of breath.
- If you develop symptoms associated with the coronavirus, stay home, and contact your healthcare provider.
- If you don’t have a healthcare provider, you can call Alaska 211 for information on how to get help
- In Anchorage, you can dial 2-1-1 or call toll-free 1-800-478-221
- The CDC is advising households with sick family members to have only one family member care for the sick individual
- If possible, give the sick person a separate room and keep the door closed
Call your health care provider if you have signs of fever, shortness of breath, or cough.
- The Alaska Division of Insurance requires health insurers to waive cost-sharing for COVID-19 testing, office visits, and trips to the emergency room
- The waiver applies to in-network and out-of-network providers, facilities, and laboratories
- The Division of Insurance is encouraging health insurers to “liberalize telehealth benefits during this period of increased infection.”
- The Alaska Department of Health and Social Services is asking all patients, providers, hospitals, and surgical centers to consider minimizing, postponing or canceling all non-urgent or elective procedures for 3 months
- The request is to decrease the overall impact on the Alaska health care structure
Thank you for staying in touch. We will pass on any additional information as it arrives.
I’m here for you, so please keep in touch on matters important to you and your family!
Alaska State Representative
District 23 - Anchorage