News Release: October 7 Unified Command Weekly Meeting



SITKA, October 7, 2020 – This week Unified Command discusses Saturday’s free community flu vaccination clinic and the newest FEMA demands.

Since last week, Incident Commander, John Leach stated we have remained at Moderate Alert Level and after this Saturday we will be coming down into Low Level if no new cases are reported.

FEMA has asked for additional details on our requests. Most recently they asked about our installation of plexiglass barriers and wanted to know if we installed them because there was an infection in the building or an infectious exposure within the last 7 days before installation. Requests made by FEMA are adding an additional layer of difficulty and time to the reimbursement process.

Craig Warren, Operations Section Chief, reminded of the free flu vaccination clinic that will take place this Saturday at Harrigan Centennial Hall, 10 am – 2 pm.

John Holst, Sitka School District Superintendent, is feeling confident about the District’s response to the change in Alert Levels and is looking forward to dropping back down to low. Next week the District will have a flu vaccination clinic take place for all staff. 

Jay Sweeney, Finance Section Chief, stated FEMA is taking a stance in reimbursing only things they consider valid costs. These costs are directly related to the response of a spreading pandemic. FEMA considers protective measures taken to prevent a pandemic directed for CARES Act funding.

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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