** Health Mandate ** Social Distancing

To prevent the spread of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19), the State of Alaska is issuing its eleventh health mandate based on its authority under the Public Health Disaster Emergency Declaration signed by Governor Mike Dunleavy on March 11, 2020.

Given the increasing concern for new cases of COVID-19 being transmitted via community spread within the state, Governor Dunleavy and the State of Alaska are issuing the following mandate to go into effect March 28, 2020 at 5:00 pm and will be reevaluated by April 11, 2020.

This mandate is issued to protect the public health of Alaskans. The Governor looks to establish consistent mandates across the State in order to mitigate the impact of COVID-19. The goal is to flatten the curve and disrupt the spread of the virus.

The purpose of this mandate is to restrict the movement of individuals within the State of Alaska in order to prevent, slow, and otherwise disrupt the spread of the virus that causes COVID-19.

The State of Alaska and the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services (DHSS) acknowledge the importance of social distancing, while maintaining essential healthcare services, public government services, and other essential business activities, to prevent, slow, and otherwise disrupt the spread of COVID-19 in Alaska. It is imperative that Alaskans heed these guidelines.

Health Mandate 011 – Social Distancing

Effective 5 p.m. March 28, 2020:

All persons in Alaska, except for those engaged in essential health care services, public government services, and essential business activities, are mandated to remain at their place of residence and practice social distancing. For the purpose of this mandate, social distancing is defined as maintaining a distance of six feet or greater from any individuals with whom you do not currently reside. Read the “Mandate 11 & 12 FAQ’s” for more details, which can be found here: http://dhss.alaska.gov/dph/Epi/id/Pages/COVID-19/default.aspx

Critical infrastructure includes those items listed in “Alaska’s Essential Services and Critical Infrastructure” (formerly Attachment A) https://gov.alaska.gov/wp-content/uploads/sites/2/03232020-COVID-19-Health-Mandate-010-Attachment-A.pdf

I. The Governor orders individuals to abide by the following:

  1. Work from home as much as possible (see Alaska Essential Services and Critical Workforce Infrastructure Order).
  2. Immediately isolate any family member who is ill. www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/hcp/guidance-prevent-spread.html#precautions
  3. Outdoor activity (e.g., walking, hiking, bicycling, running, fishing or hunting) is permitted when a distance of six or more feet can be maintained between individuals not in the same household.
  4. Any individual who exhibits symptoms of illness must not leave their home, including to work, except as necessary to seek or receive medical care.
  5. All individuals shall cease participation in public or private gatherings that include non-household members, regardless of the number of people involved. This includes, but is not limited to, weddings, faith gatherings, graduations, and funeral events.
  6. Individuals experiencing homelessness are exempt from this mandate but are urged to obtain shelter.

II. The Governor orders the closure of non-essential businesses:

  1. All businesses within Alaska, except those listed in Alaska Essential Services and Critical Workforce Infrastructure Order, are required to cease all activities at facilities located within the state except Minimum Basic Operations, as defined in Section II(c). For clarity, businesses may also continue operations consisting exclusively of employees or contractors performing activities at their own residences (i.e., working from home).
  2. For purposes of this Mandate, covered businesses include any for-profit, non-profit, or educational entities, regardless of the nature of the service, the function they perform, or corporate or entity structure.
  3. Minimum Basic Operations” include the following, provided that employees comply with Social Distancing Requirements as defined in this Section, to the extent possible, while carrying out such operations:
    1. The minimum necessary activities to maintain the value of the business’s inventory, ensure security, process payroll and employee benefits, or for related functions.
    2. The minimum necessary activities to facilitate employees of the business being able to continue to work remotely from their residences.

III. The Governor orders employers to abide by the following:

  1. Businesses providing essential services and critical infrastructure will, to the extent reasonably feasible, take reasonable precautions to ensure the health of their service sector and employees.
  2. Public-facing businesses providing essential services and critical infrastructure will proactively promote social distancing between employees and others, including, but not limited to, expanding delivery options, drive-through services, limiting the number of individuals in a building, clearly spacing lines to keep individuals six feet apart, or making appointment times to minimize interactions between members of the public.
  3. Employers will evaluate which of their employees can feasibly work remotely from home and to the extent reasonable, take steps to enable employees to work from home.

A violation of a state COVID-19 Mandate may subject a business or organization to an order to cease operations and/or a civil fine of up to $1,000 per violation.

In addition to the potential civil fines noted above, a person or organization that fails to follow the state COVID-19 Mandates designed to protect the public health from this dangerous virus and its impact may, under certain circumstances, also be criminally prosecuted for Reckless Endangerment pursuant to Alaska Statute 11.41.250. Reckless endangerment is defined as follows:

(a) A person commits the crime of reckless endangerment if the person recklessly engages in conduct which creates a substantial risk of serious physical injury to another person.
(b) Reckless endangerment is a class A misdemeanor.

Pursuant to Alaska Statute 12.55.135, a defendant convicted of a class A misdemeanor may be sentenced to a definite term of imprisonment of not more than one year.

Additionally, under Alaska Statute 12.55.035, a person may be fined up to $25,000 for a class A misdemeanor, and a business organization may be sentenced to pay a fine not exceeding the greatest of $2,500,000 for a misdemeanor offense that results in death, or $500,000 for a class A misdemeanor offense that does not result in death.

This mandate supersedes any local government or tribal mandate, directive, or order.

Update from SFD Search and Rescue Team

During this time of social distancing, it is natural to think of heading outdoors for some healthy isolation. However, we want everyone to understand the impact the current situation has on our ability to carry out search and rescue operations.

Our ability to mount an effective SAR response has already been impacted in a number of ways. We have members in higher-risk demographics who can only contribute from their homes. Some of our members volunteer in the EMS division or work in healthcare-related jobs, which may take priority over SAR operations at this time. Our field team members will need to minimize interactions at the fire hall, and minimize interactions with each other and the public throughout a response. Because of this, we will be slower to reach lost or injured individuals. Our direct contact with lost or injured people will also put us all at risk of transmitting the virus, regardless of whether anyone is showing symptoms.

Please keep this in mind when planning your outdoor activities until the critical period of this public health crisis has passed. Please consider lower-risk activities so your chances of injury are minimized, and please consider sticking to areas you know well so your chances of becoming lost are kept to a minimum as well. Similar messages are being shared by search and rescue organizations around the US.

If you are heading out, please leave a clear trip plan with someone in town. If you have any questions regarding this announcement, please contact the Sitka Fire Department at 747-3233.

Ten New Cases of COVID-19 Detected in Alaska

March 26, 2020 — The Alaska Department of Health and Social Services (DHSS) today announced 10 new positive cases of COVID-19 in four Alaska communities – Anchorage (5), Fairbanks (2), North Pole (2), and Juneau (1). This brings Alaska’s total case count to 69. Six of these cases are still under investigation; the remaining four are close contacts of previously diagnosed cases. Most individuals are adults, but two are younger adults (aged 19-29) and one is a child. The child is a relative of a previously diagnosed case, and is the first youth to be infected with the virus that causes COVID-19. “We now have convincing evidence of community transmission in three Alaska communities—Anchorage, Fairbanks and Ketchikan,” said Dr. Joe McLaughlin, Alaska’s State Epidemiologist. “This means that COVID-19 cases are being identified in people in these communities who have had no recent out-of-state travel and no identified link to another person with confirmed COVID-19 infection. This heightens the need for vigilant adherence to social distancing measures and prompt home isolation of people who develop any symptoms of respiratory infection.” The CDC provides these guidelines on what to do if you are sick. Of the total cases, three have been hospitalized.
So far the communities in Alaska that have had laboratory-confirmed cases include Anchorage (including JBER), Eagle River/Chugiak, Homer, Seward, Soldotna, Sterling, Fairbanks, North Pole, Palmer, Ketchikan and Juneau.
As a reminder, please follow these guidelines to STOP THE SPREAD of COVID-19: Wash hands frequently, cover coughs and sneezes and clean frequently-touched surfaces. Keep at least six feet away from others. Stay home and work from home as much as possible. If you are sick with a respiratory infection, even with mild symptoms, isolate yourself from others and call ahead if you need medical attention. In accordance with Governor Dunleavy’s COVID-19 Health Mandate 009, issued March 23, remember: No gatherings of more than 10 people may take place. If a gathering does take place, people must be six feet apart from each other. Follow all health mandates and guidance issued by Governor Mike Dunleavy, DHSS, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and local governments and health authorities. Stay informed: Alaska’s Response Find more information about how to keep yourself and your family healthy at the DHSS webpage, coronavirus.alaska.gov Visit the governor’s webpage on COVID-19 at gov.alaska.gov/covid19news  Visit ready.alaska.gov/covid19 on the Division of Homeland Security & Emergency Management webpage for Unified Command information, community press releases and other documents. United States response: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention leads the U.S. response. Global response: The World Health Organization guides the global response.​ This press release covers new cases between March 25 at 3 p.m. and March 26 at 3 p.m. when daily case counts are updated at coronavirus.alaska.gov.   ###

All Travelers Into Alaska Must Quarantine 14 Days Says Governor

Gov. Mike Dunleavy issued new travel restrictions that went into effect Wednesday, March 25. Health Mandate 10 requires all people arriving in Alaska – whether resident, worker or visitor – to self-quarantine for 14 days and to monitor themselves for signs of illness, such as fever or cough.

Travelers are required to fill out a mandatory Travel Declaration Form stating where they have traveled from and where they will self-quarantine. The form can be accessed:
* Online at ready.alaska.gov
* At the Ketchikan, Juneau, Anchorage and Fairbanks airports
* At the Canadian border for travelers on essential business
* In Sitka, volunteers are distributing the form to travelers at the airport. Completed forms can be submitted via email to akcovidtravel@ak-prepared.com

There is an exception to the mandated self-quarantine for workers who support critical infrastructure. Businesses and entities on the Alaska Critical Workforce Infrastructure list must take special care to protect their employees and operations. Those businesses that have workers who must travel to enter Alaska must submit a plan to the Alaska Department of Commerce, Community & Economic Development that outlines how it will avoid the spread of COVID-19 and not endanger lives or the ability to function. Worker Mitigation Plans are available online at ready.alaska.gov/Covid19-WorkerMitigationPlan.

Please find the full mandate with details on how to self-quarantine, frequently asked questions, the Alaska Critical Workforce Infrastructure list, link to the Travel Declaration Form, and a handout for travelers at coronavirus.alaska.gov under the Health Mandates heading.

To report a business or individual not complying with the mandate, send an email to investigations@alaska.gov.

Driver’s License Expiring?

Alaskans with driver’s licenses, commercial driver’s licenses, or state-issued IDs expiring in the next six months can file for online extensions. Due to the COVID-19 outbreak, in-state license/ID extensions are now allowed. All credentials will be extended by six months until further notice.

Individuals can apply for this extension online by following this link: https://online.dmv.alaska.gov/ooslicenseextensions

Enter the requested information in order to confirm identity, then click “submit”. The extension will be delivered in the mail. If there is an issue, DMV will contact applicants.

17 New Cases of COVID-19 in Alaska – 3/25/2020

March 25, 2020 ANCHORAGE — The Alaska Department of Health and Social Services (DHSS) today announced 17 new positive cases of COVID-19 in four Alaska communities – Anchorage (11), Fairbanks/North Pole (2), Homer (1) and Ketchikan (2).

Most of the cases are still under investigation. Three cases are known to be travel-related and three are close contacts of previously diagnosed individuals. Most individuals are adults, but three are younger adults aged 19-29. This brings Alaska’s total case count to 59.

Of these total cases, three are hospitalized; two were added in this most recent 24-hour period.

“This clearly represents a considerable increase in our cases,” said Dr. Joe McLaughlin, Alaska’s State Epidemiologist. “In order to slow down the transmission rate, it is imperative that all Alaskans strictly adhere to state and local social distancing directives and also promptly isolate themselves from others if they develop any symptoms of a respiratory infection.”

The case count webpage at coronavirus.alaska.gov now lists cases by community and region, instead of just by region as previously reported.  One clarifying note is that the Homer case is an individual who was tested in Anchorage after returning from a trip to the Lower 48; that person has stayed in Anchorage and has not returned to Homer since becoming ill.

So far the communities in Alaska that have had laboratory-confirmed cases include Anchorage (including JBER), Eagle River/Chugiak, Homer, Seward, Soldotna, Sterling, Fairbanks, North Pole, Palmer, Ketchikan and Juneau.

As a reminder, please follow these guidelines to STOP THE SPREAD of COVID-19:

  1. Wash hands frequently, cover coughs and sneezes and clean frequently touched surfaces.
  2. Keep at least 6 feet away from others. Stay home and work from home as much as possible.
  3. If you are sick with a respiratory infection, even with mild symptoms, isolate yourself from others and call ahead if you need medical attention.
  4. In accordance with Governor Dunleavy’s March 20th Health Mandate, remember:
    • No gatherings of more than 10 people may take place.
    • If a gathering does take place people must be 6 feet apart from each other.
  5. Follow all health mandates and guidance issued by Governor Mike Dunleavy, DHSS, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) and local governments and health authorities.

Find more information about how to keep yourself and your family healthy at coronavirus.alaska.gov.

This press release covers new cases between March 24 at 3 p.m. and March 25 at 3 p.m.
when daily case counts are updated at coronavirus.alaska.gov.

CBS Assembly Adopts Hunker Down Resolution

The Assembly of the City and Borough of Sitka adopted a resolution at their March 24, 2020 meeting ordering people in the City and Borough of Sitka to hunker down. The intent is for citizens to stay home as much as possible.

This resolution is effective immediately and shall remain in effect through April 14, 2020.

All people in the City and Borough of Sitka shall stay at home as much as possible, except to work in critical jobs (see Section 5 of the resolution – download at link below), to buy, sell, or deliver groceries or other important goods such as those sold by critical businesses; to receive or provide health care; and to get fresh air without contacting others. On the limited occasions when individuals leave home, they should maintain social distancing of at least six feet from any person outside their household whenever possible. Individuals are also encouraged to practice recommended hygiene, including regular hand washing. Individuals experiencing homelessness are exempt from this order.

All non-critical businesses and entities must close their premises to the public; however, businesses and entities are encouraged to use telecommuting or work from home procedures.

All critical businesses or entities that remain open must comply with social distancing guidelines as much as possible, including by maintaining six-foot social distancing for employees and members of the public.

If a business or entity is not listed in Section 5 (definition of critical businesses or entities), and the business owner or authorized agent believes that the business or entity is critical or it is an entity providing critical services or functions, the business may request a determination from the Administrator, or designee.

Click here to see full resolution:

Six new cases of COVID-19 detected in Alaska

March 24, 2020 – The Alaska Department of Health and Social Services (DHSS) today announced six new cases of COVID-19 in four Alaska communities – Fairbanks (2), Juneau (1), Ketchikan (2) and Sterling (1).  All of these new cases were in adults. The Juneau case was travel-related, and two other cases (Fairbanks and Sterling) were acquired from close contacts. The remaining three cases are still being investigated.

Today, DHSS also announced the first COVID-19 case to be hospitalized and the first Alaska resident to have died from COVID-19. The decedent was a resident of Southeast Alaska who died on March 16, 2020, in at a health care facility in King County, Washington after a prolonged stay there. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), this case is counted as an Alaska fatality, even though this individual was not infected with the virus that causes COVID-19 in Alaska and also died out of state.

Case count updates are made daily to coronavirus.alaska.gov by 5 p.m. daily and reflect cases reported as of 3 p.m. that day. Find more information about how to keep yourself and your family healthy at coronavirus.alaska.gov.