News Release: September 9 Unified Command Weekly Meeting


SITKA, September 9, 2020 – This week Unifed Command gave an update on the new data dashboard, schools Smart Start and FEMA status reports.

John Leach, Incident Commander, reported on Friday, September 4, the COVID-19 Dashboard went live. Leach hopes the data presented on the website will eventually take the place of the need for daily case reports. Press releases will continue from Unified Command until the dashboard becomes a solid, centralized source of information. The dashboard is located on the CBS COVID-19 Information Center  Additional data points will be added as we collect information.

Sara Peterson, Public Information Officer, shared that currently, the alert level is on display outside Harrigan Cenntenial Hall and will soon be visible for the community outside the firehall.

Janelle Vanasse, Mt. Edgecumbe Superintendent, stated last Friday, September 4, all 14-day tests were complete and they are waiting for the tests to come back. Assuming all tests are negative the school will shift into low risk status.

Rob Janik, Planning Section Chief, will be attending a COVID vaccination teleconference and will report back next week.

Jay Sweeney,  Finance Section Chief, provided status reports on requests submitted to FEMA. FEMA continues to tighten requirements.

John Holst, Superintendent of Sitka School District, was pleased to announce that operations at all schools are going well. School system is working on how to fine tune their procedures. John thanked SEARHC for their support of the Sitka School District.

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 Mt. Edgecumbe Medical Center Testing 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 or

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