December 2: News Release of Unified Command’s Weekly Meeting

UNIFIED COMMAND ASKS FOR THE CONTINUED

COOPERATION OF OUR COMMUNITY

SITKA, December 2, 2020

Incident Commander, John Leach read a joint letter from Unified Command leadership to the community of Sitka and stated the message would be inserted inside the December 9 and 16 editions of the Daily Sitka Sentinel. Members of Unified Command will be recording holiday COVID messaging to be aired on KCAW and KIFW throughout December. To stay informed on case counts and mitigation recommendations go to https://cityofsitka.org/.

SEARHC Incident Commander, Dr. Bruhl said while there currently were no COVID-19 inpatients, there had been in the last 10 days. He reported SEARHC continues to encourage all employees to be an example to the community in their personal behavior outside of work and when working with patients in care environments.

Bruhl noted SEARHC was preparing staff for receiving the vaccination, participating in the State vaccine preparedness overhead group and anticipated approximately 34,000 doses of vaccine (Pfizer and Moderna) coming to Alaska within the next two weeks. Among staff, the highest priority would be given to care providers and those working in high-risk environments, consistent with guidelines from the CDC and the FDA. Bruhl shared excitement for the arrival of the vaccine; noting this was the beginning of the end of the pandemic. He relayed the vaccine would be a focus for SEARHC over the next 12 months while working in collaboration with public health and partners at Harry Race and Whites Pharmacy.

SEARHC Liaison, Maegan Bosak reported supply levels for equipment and stock were adequate. As of Wednesday, December 2 SEARHC had processed 37,843 tests in Sitka. Those needing a test were asked to call the COVID-19 Hotline at 907-966-8799 to schedule an appointment. Bosak reminded asymptomatic testing was still available for those needing to travel for a $145 fee.

Amy Ainslie, Unit Resource Leader reported on the COVID conscious business program.  Anslie shared the program was not ready and more details would be forthcoming.

Trish White, pharmacist said Whites and Harry Race Pharmacy were ready and prepared for vaccine distribution.

Public Health Nurse, Denise Ewing reiterated how Sitka continues to see an increase of daily cases.

Stefania Potrzuski, coordinator of airport testing, stated travelers in need of a pretravel test (to communities off the road system in Alaska) or a second test, could receive one at the airport between the hours of 5:30pm to 6:30pm each day. Potrzuski indicated there had been an increase in residents testing when deplaning and taking advantage of getting a second test.

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. 

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 cityofsitka.org or covid19.searhc.org.

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