Message from Sitka Unified Command: Update on Sitka COVID-19 Case

SITKA, April 30, 2020 – On April 25, the Sitka Unified Command was notified of a confirmed positive COVID-19 case in Sitka.  On April 29, the Sitka Unified Command was informed additional testing for the confirmed positive COVID-19 patient had been performed and additional test results were negative.

Sitka’s Public Health Nurse reports the State of Alaska Department of Health and Social Services Epidemiology Section is continuing to evaluate this case and reminds the public that this remains a positive case for Sitka.

In response to the April 25 transport of the patient, Fire Chief Dave Miller would like to commend the Sitka Fire Department and Mt. Edgecumbe Medical Center (MEMC) personnel for their preparedness. “Both the Sitka Fire Department and MEMC personnel are highly prepared for a call of this nature and worked together to ensure a safe transport for the patient and staff.”

The Sitka Unified Command urges citizens to continue to adhere to all local and state mandates regarding travel and staying at home as much as possible.  Sitka’s local hunker down resolution is in effect through May 12.  Emergency Ordinance 2020-14 requiring all people arriving in Sitka, whether by vessel or aircraft, to self-quarantine for 14 days is in effect until the State of Alaska rescinds Health Mandate 10.  To read more about local legislation related to the COVID-19 pandemic, visit https://cityofsitka.org/covid-19-cbs-legislation/.

The Sitka Unified Command asks citizens to continue to practice good hygiene – wash your hands often for at least 20 seconds, avoid touching your face, remain at home when sick, practice physical distancing of 6 feet, and clean and disinfect objects and surfaces on a regular basis.  On the limited occasions when leaving home, the Sitka Unified Command reminds citizens to wear a face covering. 

For health questions or COVID concerns, please call the SEARHC COVID hotline at 966.8799 from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.  Outside of normal clinic hours, patients can contact the SEARHC 24/7 Nurse Advice Line at 1.800.613.0560 to be triaged by a registered nurse.

The Sitka Unified Command encourages citizens to continue to take precautionary measures to stay healthy:

  • Get your flu shot. The flu shot will not prevent COVID-19 but will help prevent you from getting sick and reduce the workload on the healthcare system.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after your blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, or cough or sneeze into your elbow.
  • Clean frequently touched surfaces and objects daily (e.g. tables, countertops, light switches, doorknobs, and cabinet handles) using a regular household detergent and water
  • Wear a face covering, in particular in public settings. For more information on cloth face coverings visit http://dhss.alaska.gov/dph/Epi/id/Pages/COVID-19/coveryourface.aspx

Additional information on COVID-19 is available through the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services (DHSS) at https://covid19.alaska.gov/, SEARHC at www.covid19.searhc.org, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention at https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-nCoV/index.html.

Residents are encouraged to prepare for any local emergency by ensuring each family member has a 14- day emergency supply kit, including any necessary medications.

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Four new cases of COVID-19 reported in two Alaska communities

April 29, 2020 — The Alaska Department of Health and Social Services (DHSS) today announced four new cases of COVID-19 in two communities: Anchorage (2) and Eagle River (2). This brings the total case count to 355.

This reflects data from 12:00 a.m. until 11:59 p.m. on April 28 that posted at noon today on the DHSS Coronavirus Response AK COVID-19 Cases and Testing Dashboard.

Of the new cases, all four are male. Two are aged 20-29; one is aged 30-39; and one is aged 50-59. There have been a total of 36 hospitalizations and nine deaths with no new hospitalizations or deaths reported yesterday. The number of hospitalizations was reduced by one as a result of data verification efforts that identified a person who was incorrectly categorized as being hospitalized. Recovered cases now total 240, including 12 new recovered cases recorded yesterday.

Stay informed

Questions about COVID-19?

Six new cases of COVID-19 reported in four Alaska communities

April 28, 2020 — The Alaska Department of Health and Social Services (DHSS) today announced six new cases of COVID-19 in four communities: Anchorage (3), Chugiak (1), Petersburg (1) and North Pole (1). This brings the total case count to 351.

This reflects data from 12:00 a.m. until 11:59 p.m. on April 27 that posted at noon today on the DHSS Coronavirus Response AK COVID-19 Cases and Testing Dashboard.

Of the new cases, five are male and one is female. One is aged 20-29; two are aged 30-39; one is aged 40-49; and two are aged 50-59. There have been a total of 37 hospitalizations and nine deaths with no new hospitalizations or deaths reported yesterday. Recovered cases now total 228, including 10 new recovered cases recorded yesterday.

Stay informed

Questions about COVID-19?

Alaska’s parents share concerns about how the COVID-19 pandemic is affecting their families

April 27, 2020 — In just a week, almost 2,000 Alaska parents responded to the first survey in the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services’ (DHSS) series of family surveys to find out how the COVID-19 pandemic is impacting the lives of Alaska families with children.

Alaska families are encouraged to fill out the second survey, call HEALTH. This survey is focused on the impacts of the pandemic on physical activity, nutrition, health insurance and access to prescriptions. Alaskans can participate by texting “health” to 907-269-0344.

The first survey in the series revealed that three out of four Alaska parents are concerned that the COVID-19 pandemic is negatively impacting their child’s physical health. Even more parents are concerned about the impact on their child’s mental health.

“Daily regular physical activity can make a big difference in how your child feels right now,” said Dr. Anne Zink, Alaska’s Chief Medical Officer, “Physical activity improves your mood and eases your stress. A simple walk can help you and your children feel less anxious and improve your sleep that night.”

Parents stated that spending time outdoors (74%), increased family time (70%) and connecting with friends and family online (69%) have helped them deal with physical distancing measures. DHSS also learned that of those parents seeking care, over half reported difficulties in obtaining medical care (80%) and mental health care (60%). 

Families needing help can call 2-1-1, visit Help Me Grow Alaska or Alaska’s Play Every Day campaign to learn how to be physically active safely during the pandemic. Visit the Office of Children’s Services Child Safety and Well-Being During COVID-19 website for information for youth, families and community members. Resources specifically for parents and caregivers of children with special health care needs are available on the Division of Public Health’s Children and Youth with Special Health Care Needs website. Parents feeling overwhelmed can call the Alaska Careline at 877-266-4357, text TalkWithUs to 66746 or visit the National Domestic Violence Hotline.

The second survey continues to explore challenges families are facing. “We hope parents with children and youth at home will share how their children’s physical activity, screen-time and dietary habits have changed during the pandemic,” said Karol Fink, manager of Alaska’s Physical Activity and Nutrition Unit.

The Physical Activity and Nutrition Unit coordinated with the Maternal Child Health (MCH) Epidemiology Unit to design the second survey.

The link to the second survey and the results from the first survey are posted at the MCH Epidemiology Unit website at dhss.alaska.gov/dph/wcfh/Pages/mchepi/.

Four new cases of COVID-19 reported in three Alaska communities

April 27, 2020 — The Alaska Department of Health and Social Services (DHSS) today announced four new cases of COVID-19 in three communities: Anchorage (2), Eagle River (1) and Wasilla (1). This brings the total case count to 345.

This reflects data from 12:00 a.m. until 11:59 p.m. on April 26 that posted at noon today on the DHSS Coronavirus Response AK COVID-19 Cases and Testing Dashboard.

Of the new cases, three are male and one is female. Two are aged 20-29; one is aged 40-49; and one is aged 50-59. There have been a total of 37 hospitalizations and nine deaths with one new hospitalization and no new deaths reported yesterday. Recovered cases now total 218, including one new recovered case recorded yesterday.

Stay informed

Questions about COVID-19?

Two new cases of COVID-19 announced in two Alaska communities – includes first case announced in Sitka April 25

April 26 – The Alaska Department of Health and Social Services (DHSS) today announced two new cases of COVID-19 in two communities: North Pole (1) and Sitka (1). This brings the total case count to 341.

This reflects data from 12:00 a.m. until 11:59 p.m. on April 25 that posted at noon today on the DHSS Coronavirus Response AK COVID-19 Cases and Testing Dashboard.

Of the new cases, both are male. One is aged 40-49 and one is aged 60-69. There have been a total of 36 hospitalizations and nine deaths with no new hospitalizations or deaths reported yesterday. Recovered cases total 217.

This is Sitka’s first COVID-19 case and the person is a resident at a long-term care facility. The Sitka Emergency Operations Center reported yesterday that the patient was immediately isolated and transferred to a hospital. The facility is working with the DHSS Section of Epidemiology to assess the risk to other residents and staff, as well as implementing additional infection control measures.

The Alaska Department of Corrections (DOC) announced today the confirmation of the first positive case of an inmate at a DOC facility. The case is at Goose Creek Correctional Center in the Matanuska-Susitna Borough. That case will be included in tomorrow’s case count for April 26. DOC is acting quickly to investigate the case and is working closely with the Division of Public Health which is assisting with the contact tracing and investigation.

Stay informed:
* Sitka’s response https://cityofsitka.org/ and https://covid19.searhc.org/
* Alaska’s response https://covid19.alaska.gov/
* United States response https://www.coronavirus.gov/
* Global response https://www.who.int/emergen…/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019

Positive COVID-19 Case In Sitka

April 25 – Sitka Unified Command has received information from Public Health Officials that there has been a positive test result for COVID-19 in Sitka. 

The confirmed patient is a resident at SEARHC Sitka Long-Term Care (SLTC). Upon notification from the Public Health Officials, the patient was immediately isolated and transferred to Mt. Edgecumbe Medical Center, and plans were implemented to ensure the safety of the other residents at SLTC.  An investigation is currently underway to identify the source of the virus. Public Health Officials will notify and isolate additional persons as appropriate.

Sitka Unified Command urges citizens to adhere to all local, state, and federal mandates regarding travel, staying at home as much as possible and on the limited occasions when leaving home to practice physical distancing of 6 feet from others.  Continue to practice good hygiene – wash your hands often for at least 20 seconds, avoid touching your face, remain at home when sick, clean and disinfect objects and surfaces on a regular basis, and wear a face covering, in particular in public settings. 

COVID-19 symptoms are similar to those of the flu – fever, aching, cough, and shortness of breath. If you are concerned you might have contracted the coronavirus, don’t panic, as the flu or another respiratory virus is still the most likely cause.  Contact your healthcare provider for advice.  If you choose to visit an emergency department, call ahead to alert staff of your coronavirus concerns and request a mask be brought out to you prior to entering to reduce the risk of exposure. For health questions or COVID concerns, please call the COVID hotline at 966.8799 from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.  Outside of normal clinic hours, patients can contact the SEARHC 24/7 Nurse Advice Line at 1.800.613.0560 to be triaged by a registered nurse.

Additional information on COVID-19 is available through the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services (DHSS) at  https://covid19.alaska.gov/ and SEARHC at www.covid19.searhc.org.

If you are not sick, please continue to take precautionary measures to stay healthy:

  • Get your flu shot. The flu shot will not prevent COVID-19 but will help prevent you from getting sick and reduce the workload on the healthcare system.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after your blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, or cough or sneeze into your elbow.
  • Clean frequently touched surfaces and objects daily (e.g. tables, countertops, light switches, doorknobs, and cabinet handles) using a regular household detergent and water
  • Wear a face covering, in particular in public settings. For more information on cloth face coverings visit http://dhss.alaska.gov/dph/Epi/id/Pages/COVID-19/coveryourface.aspx

Residents are encouraged to prepare for any local emergency by ensuring each family member has a 14- day emergency supply kit, including any necessary medications.

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