Join the COVID-19 response team – Contact tracers keep the lid on COVID-19

The State of Alaska and University of Alaska’s College of Health are currently hiring for a variety of positions responding to the COVID-19 challenge. This work is essential to keeping the lid on this highly contagious virus.

One opportunity is to assist with contact tracing. “Contact tracers” call Alaskans who test positive for COVID-19. They offer support. They also identify others who may have been exposed to the virus through close contact. They then encourage these close contacts to take action to contain the virus from spreading further. If you’d like to get involved, check out the job and volunteer opportunities for contact tracers and other supporting positions.

Connect with Alaska’s COVID-19 Experts via Video Conference

Participating in or just listening to ECHO videoconferences are a great way to connect with Alaska’s COVID-19 experts and have your questions answered. We encourage you to tune in. Here is the DHSS ECHO schedule for this week, Nov. 30 – Dec. 4, 2020.

• Vaccine Press ECHO – for media, 12-12:30 pm
• School Health ECHO – for school health/nurse leaders and administrators, 3-4 pm

• Rural Public Health ECHO – for rural healthcare stakeholders, 12-1 pm
• Alaska COVID-19 ECHO for Medical Providers, 7-8 pm

• Dr. Butler: Addressing Alaska Healthcare Stakeholders about the COVID-19 Vaccine – for Alaska medical and healthcare stakeholders, 7-8 am
• COVID-19 Science ECHO – for the general public, 12-1 pm. You can also tune in via Facebook Live @alaskachdCOVID-19
• Palliative Care in COVID-19 ECHO – for health care providers, 12-1 pm
• Local Government Public Health Analysis ECHO – for health care providers, 3-4 pm

• COVID-19 Situational Awareness for Health Care Providers, 12-1 pm
• COVID-19 Media ECHO – for the media, 1-1:45 pm
• COVID-19 Vaccine ECHO – vaccine planning and operation updates for community partners, emergency managers, and immunization coordinators, 2-3 pm
• COVID-19 Contact Tracer ECHO – for contact tracers, 7-8 pm

• Nursing Home ECHO, 2-3 pm

Learn more and register:

For more info:

CDC Zoom Call: Resilience and Mental Health for the Holidays

Stressed out about COVID-19 and the holidays? The CDC is hosting a program, “Resilience and Mental Health for the Holidays,” Monday, November 30 at 3 pm ET via Zoom. Anyone can join, so invite your friends and family. Register here:

Stay diligent, Sitka!

Stay diligent, Sitka! As we’ve learned, COVID-19 is highly infectious and fast-spreading. This graphic by Dr. Emily Smith shows how contagious you are compared to how sick you feel. As Dr. Zink recently stated, “You can spread the virus person to person before you feel ill and as a result it can be hard to know when to stay home. That’s why we ask people to mask and stay distanced to minimize the spread, even if you don’t feel sick.”

For your family, friends, and neighbors:

•Follow the 3 W’s (wear a mask, wash hands frequently and watch your space by maintaining at least 6 feet from non-household members)

•Avoid the 3 C’s (closed spaces, crowded places and close contact situations)

•Get tested if you have any symptoms, even mild symptoms. To schedule, call the SEARHC COVID-19 Hotline at 966-8799 (daily 8am to 5pm). After hours, call the Nurse Advice Line at 1-800-613-0560.

•If you test positive for COVID-19, isolate immediately, notify close contacts, seek care if needed, and if you receive a phone call from a contract tracer, please answer the call.

•If you are a close contact, quarantine immediately and for the full 14 days. Get tested around day 7 of your quarantine, even if you don’t have symptoms. If the test is negative, STAY in quarantine. If the test is positive, isolate for 10 days and notify your close contacts.

This won’t last forever and we know it’s difficult, but it will take all of us changing our behaviors to slow the spread of COVID-19.

AK Responders Relief Line

The COVID-19 pandemic has put a heavy strain on health care and emergency response systems and more importantly, the people who keep those systems running and provide care and support to those with medical needs.

The AK Responders Relief Line is a free, confidential service available to those serving in the health care and emergency response fields. If you’re feeling anxious, having trouble sleeping, depressed, need help coping, or just want to talk to someone about your day, please call 1-844-985-8275 anytime.

Our Local Public Health Officials Need Your Help

If you test positive for COVID-19:
•Isolate immediately. Stay home except to get medical care and minimize contact with everyone in your household.
•Notify close contacts. Quickly notify anyone who has spent more than 15 minutes (cumulative) within six feet of you over a 24-hour period so they quarantine immediately.
•Seek care if needed. Stay in touch with your doctor and seek care if you have any emergency warning signs or you think it’s an emergency.
•Answer the call. If you receive a phone call from a contract tracer, please answer the call and return their message. Many different entities are assisting with contact tracing so there is no Caller ID.

If you are a close contact:
•Quarantine immediately and for the full 14 days. Get test around day 7 of your quarantine, even if you don’t have symptoms. If the test is negative, STAY in quarantine. If the test is positive, isolate for 10 days and notify your close contacts

We need everyone’s help to decrease the spread of COVID-19 in Sitka.

Company home for the holidays?

Young family coming home for the holidays? Here are a few rules for your travelers to keep in mind:
• Get tested: Know you’re negative. Get a COVID-19 test 72 hours before you leave or at the airport in Alaska when you arrive. If you feel sick at any time, get tested and isolate yourself until you get negative results. A second test is strongly encouraged seven days after arrival.
• Practice STRICT social distancing for at least the first 5 days after arrival.
• It’s 2020. Take it outdoors. Alaskans know how to take it outdoors! 2020 is the year to use those skills. Stay outdoors, keep groups small, maintain at least six feet of distance between people from different households and wear masks.
• Don’t share utensils, drinks, food, joints or vaping devices.