Sitka Unified Command Stresses Hygiene and Social Distancing Amidst Lifting of Hunker Down

SITKA, May 15, 2020 – The SouthEast Alaska Regional Health Consortium (SEARHC), the City and Borough of Sitka (CBS), Sitka Fire Department, Sitka School District (SSD), Sitka Tribe of Alaska (STA) and public health officials continue to prepare and respond to the COVID-19 pandemic.

On Tuesday, May 12, the City and Borough of Sitka Assembly Emergency Ordinance No. 2020-14, requiring all people arriving in Sitka, whether by vessel or aircraft, to self‐quarantine for 14 days, was rescinded, and Resolutions 2020-06 and 2020-08 ordering residents to hunker down were lifted. These changes result in the reopening of many businesses and group gatherings.

The Sitka Unified Command recommends residents continue to; adhere to all state and federal mandates regarding travel, social distancing of 6 feet from others, and good hygiene – wash your hands often for at least 20 seconds, avoid touching your face, remain at home when sick, wear face coverings when in public, and clean and disinfect objects and surfaces on a regular basis.

For both employers and employees, there may be uncertainty and anxiety around reopening a business. Having plans in place can help to alleviate concerns. Public health officials are available to provide guidance to businesses on reopening. To reach the Sitka Public Health Nurse, call 747-3255.

City Hall and other municipal buildings reopened this week and feature new measures to stop the spread of germs, including plexiglass barriers and thorough cleaning and sterilization. For some departments appointments are required—this is to ensure compliance with all Federal (including OSHA), State, and local regulations. When entering municipal buildings, customers are asked to follow posted social distancing guidelines and are encouraged to wear a face covering. For information on hours of operation for each department, visit www.cityofsitka.com or contact 747‐1818 to be routed to a specific department.

All SEARHC facilities are open and feature protocols to ensure patient safety, such as; pre-screening patients by phone, making waiting areas social distance friendly, enhancing on-site disinfection, requiring face masking of all patients and staff, and testing all SEARHC employees.

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/, 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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