News Release: September 23 Unified Command Weekly Meeting


SITKA, September 23, 2020 – This week Unified Command celebrated 25 years of emergency response service from their Emergency Manager, Fire Chief Dave Miller.

Incident Commander, John Leach began the meeting by thanking Dave Miller for his 25 years of service to the City and Borough of Sitka. Leach reported few major incidences over the past week. We have first responders in quarantine after an emergency response last Friday, September 18. Discussions are taking place around the efforts of celebrating Halloween and the CDC guidance for community gatherings during this time.

Leach proposes moving Unified Command meetings, during the Low Alert Level, to every other Wednesday. The CBS COVID-19 Dashboard has had a few hiccups that are currently being addressed. The dashboard is located on the CBS COVID-19 Information Center  Additional data points may be added as we collect information.

Public Health Nurse Denise Ewing reported that she is updating the Dashboard by 5:00 p.m. daily with current information. Department of Health and Social Services stresses to the public if they receive a positive COVID-19 test result, the first step is to call the public health nurse. If asked to quarantine, stay in your home, and quarantine for the full 14 days.

Rob Janik, Planning Section Chief, is working with the Vaccine Teleconference Working Group on the logistics of vaccine delivery. There is no current identified viable vaccine candidate and no expectation that one will be coming soon. They currently meet to plan on the logistics of vaccine delivery throughout the State of Alaska once a vaccine is available.

Dave Miller, Emergency Manager, thanks the City’s first responders for the diligent work and preparation to serve their community during emergencies. He urges all citizens of Sitka to actively plan and be prepared for an emergency and have their 14 -day kit prepared.

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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