Sitka Unified Command Continues to Prepare and Respond to COVID-19 Pandemic

April 3, 2020 – The SouthEast Alaska Regional Health Consortium (SEARHC), the City and Borough of Sitka (CBS), and Sitka Fire Department continue to meet on a regular basis to prepare and respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. To date, there are no known cases of COVID-19 in Sitka.

Unified Command has received numerous questions from citizens related to the reporting of testing numbers specific to Sitka.  “Together, the Unified Command, has made the decision not to release this data.  We understand this is a stressful time and are acutely aware of the fear and anxiety surrounding COVID-19.  At the same time, we value our residents and wish to respect their privacy,” stated Municipal Administrator John Leach.  Negative testing has no impact on the safety of our community, and because the screening guidelines continue to change, the amount of testing is not a reflection of community risk. The Unified Command will alert the community of all confirmed COVID-19 cases.   

The Command group urges residents 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, and clean and disinfect objects and surfaces on a regular basis.

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. 

Thank you for your cooperation as our community works together to stop any spread of the COVID-19 virus.

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