News Release: August 12 Unified Command Weekly Meeting

UNIFIED COMMAND TALKS OPERATIONS AT WEEKLY MEETING

SITKA, August 12, 2020 – Softball tournament, implementing new travel procedures, and the City and Borough of Sitka aligning our mitigation guidelines to accommodate the State of Alaska’s leaning local approach were the main topics of discussion at the latest meeting of the Sitka Unified Command.

Incident Commander John Leach reported since the last briefing, August 7, he was contacted by the Sitka Softball Association and notified they had canceled Mudball. There is a group of softball players from Juneau upset that Mudball has been canceled and they have decided to put together their own tournament here in Sitka. Mudball nor Sitka Softball Association is involved with this tournament. Per our field use guidelines, all tournaments are to be scheduled or reserved 45 days in advance.

Late in the day of August 7, Leach attended training for the new travel portal the State of Alaska has put into place for travelers to upload their negative COVID-19 test result upon arrival at the airport. August 11, the City and Borough of Sitka was notified that the travel portal was live but unable to accept $250.00 payments to the State of Alaska from non-residents who would be testing at the airport.

At the August 17 EOC work session, the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) will call in to explain COVID-19 wastewater testing results. A press release from the State of Alaska will follow. Once we get more official information from the DEC we’ll share with the community.

Thor Christianson, Logistics Operations, has placed a large order of approximately 18,000 disposable face masks, including 2,000 pediatric masks for supply at the EOC.

John Holst, Sitka School District Superintendent, shared that teachers will arrive to work Monday, August 17 . All employees will be tested on August 15 and every two weeks here after. Visit the districts website, https://www.sitkaschools.org/, for more information.

Public Health Nurse Denise Ewing detailed the weekly confirmed cases throughout the state.

Janelle Vanasse, Mt. Edgecumbe Superintendent, said teachers are back to work this Thursday, August 13. There will be a staggered start for kids. Students start arriving next week and school starts Monday, August 24.

Rob Janik, Planning Section Chief, is researching testing possibilities for Sitka and has been working on a spreadsheet for Sitka’s daily case rates.

The State of Alaska is following a leaning local approach by offering local mitigation guidance. Sitka’s Unified Command will soon put into effect a Local Mitigation Guidance plan provided by the State. The Alaska Department of Health and Social Services has defined three alert levels of community transmission. These alert levels will compliment our average daily new cases in Sitka over the past 14 days.

Sitka Unified Command urges citizens to remain diligent and practice proper hygiene measures, such as washing your hands often, avoiding close contact with others and keeping your social circle small. In addition, stay home if you feel ill, wear a face covering when around others, and clean and disinfect objects and surfaces on a regular basis.

COVID-19 symptoms are similar to the flu – fever, aching, cough, sore throat, shortness of breath, and sometimes decreased sense of taste and smell. If you are concerned you might have contracted the coronavirus contact 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. 

Free COVID-19 testing for asymptomatic patients is available every weekend. Residents can receive a self-swab nasal test between the hours of 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. every Saturday and Sunday at the Mountainside Family Clinic alternative test site, no appointment necessary. For more information, contact the SEARHC COVID-19 Hotline at 966.8799. Results are available in approximately seven (7) days.

The Emergency Operations Center encourages residents to prepare for any local emergency by ensuring each family member has a 14- day emergency supply kit, including any necessary medications.

For information on the local pandemic response, visit sitkacovid19.org or covid19.searhc.org.

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