January 6 News Release: Unified Command’s Weekly Meeting


SITKA, January 6, 2020

Incident Commander, John Leach reported Sitka’s case count was decreasing and we are now in Moderate Alert. Leach thanked everyone in the community for following mitigation efforts and stated that our drop in Alert Level is an indication that mitigation efforts are working. He encouraged continued prevention measures and to sign up online through Harry Race or SEARHC to receive the vaccine.  Leach spoke with Southeast Alaskan communities and the cruise ship industry in their weekly teleconference call about the coming 2021 summer season.  Disney Cruise Line participated in this week’s teleconference and everyone is waiting and eager to see how the 2021 season starts.

Public Information Officers, Jessica Ieremia and Sara Peterson are keeping citizens informed on the two vaccination options in Sitka. Both options require an online registration process.

The State of Alaska dispenses vaccines through Harry Race Pharmacy. An appointment is received during the online registration process. Registration is now taking place for 65+. Register at https://outlook.office365.com/owa/calendar/COVIDVaccinationTier3@whitesalaska.com/bookings/.

A vaccine can also be obtained through SEARHC. Everyone can sign up online now. After you have registered you will receive a phone call or email from SEARHC when your sequence is up. At this time, you will be able to make an appointment. Register online at https://covid19.searhc.org/.

Harry Race Pharmacist, Dirk White said they just received an allotment of Pfizer vaccinations for EMT, Sitka Fire Department, Sitka Police Department and the State Troopers. Currently, vaccinations for 65 and older can register for the Moderna vaccine clinics on January 13 and 20. The pharmacy is following the State run phase and tier system.

Operations Sections Chief, Craig Warren reminded Sitka that vaccinations were being handled by the State and SEARHC. All registration takes place online and questions need to be directed to Harry Race and SEARHC.

Maegan Bosak, SEARHC Liaison reported that a total of 42,634 COVID-19 tests have been performed. As of January 6, in Sitka, SEARHC has vaccinated 1100 people. The vaccine will remain limited in the following months and the community is encouraged to register online. You will receive a call or email when your sequence is up. Future dates for the COVID-19 vaccine clinics will be announced as more vaccine becomes available. It is recommended to continue to mitigate through social distancing, masking and proper hand washing.

SEARHC Incident Commander, Dr Bruhl discussed the changing guidelines for the definition of frontline essential workers and the appropriate sequencing for a limited resource. Using CDC guidelines SEARHC is allocating vaccine in a fair and equitable distribution process.

John Holst, Superintendent for Sitka School District sent out a parent email that stated all the schools will be open for in-person instruction starting on Monday, January 11. At least half of the school system’s staff has been inoculated for the first round of the vaccination.

Unified Command recommends citizens to enroll for a vaccination online with Harry Race Pharmacy at https://outlook.office365.com/owa/calendar/COVIDVaccinationTier3@whitesalaska.com/bookings/ and with SEARHC at https://covid19.searhc.org/.

We urge 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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