January 27 News Release: Unified Command’s Weekly Meeting


SITKA, January 27, 2021  – Incident Commander, John Leach reported the case rate was decreasing and Sitka could be in low alert status as early as Thursday. He urged citizens to keep up the good work and continue prevention measures. To stay informed visit our COVID-19 Dashboard at https://cityofsitka.org/.

Harry Race & White’s Pharmacist, Dirk White relayed on January 27, they held a mini vaccination clinic and inoculated 17 people.  White thanked CBS for spearheading the COVID Conscious Business program in Sitka. He said it was a great way for the City to help promote business in Sitka. In total, Harry Race & White’s Pharmacy has completed 553 vaccinations as of Wednesday, January 27. To register for February vaccination clinics go to Harry Race Pharmacy at Sitka Fire Hall. Scroll down the page until you reach Option B and choose a Harry Race Pharmacy at Sitka Fire Hall clinic to register for your vaccination.

Public Health Nurse, Denise Ewing encouraged Sitkans to continue mitigation measures with masking, washing hands and physical distancing and to enjoy a safe Superbowl. Ewing reminded citizens not to let their guard down, as of yesterday, the variant strain from the UK had been reported in Alaska. 

Janelle Vanasse, Superintendent of Mt. Edgecumbe High School stated the on-campus risk level was now in low alert. She added when the City shifted to low risk students would have a little more freedom to interact with town.

Maegan Bosak, SEARHC Liaison shared that as January 27, in Sitka, SEARHC had given 1,845 first doses of vaccine and 618 individuals a second dose. To date 46,043 COVID tests in Sitka had been completed, resulting in 292 positive patients. SEARHC continues to test for symptomatic and those identified as close contacts. Bosak stated there asymptomatic testing was available for those needing to travel. If interested in receiving the vaccine register at https://covid19.searhc.org and be sure to leave a valid email address. Bosak reminded citizens to be part of the solution by vaccinating, masking, social distancing and practicing good hygiene. 

Sitka School District Superintendent, John Holst shared they were in low alert status and celebrating by having a basketball game with Mt. Edgecumbe High School January 27. The District had been warned by the Public Health Nurse that if the new variant gets a foot hold in Sitka, activities would be suspended due to how contagious the variant is. He reported all staff in the District who had expressed a desire to get immunized have taken the opportunity to do so.

Thor Christianson, Logistics and Assembly Liaison gave a report to the Assembly January 26. He thanked everyone for working hard and to continue to spread the message to sign up for the vaccine.

SEARHC Incident Commander, Dr. Bruhl reiterated how it continued to be a lot of hard work to maintain COVID precautions. He stated SEARHC was in the fourth sequencing tier and stressed the importance of everyone registering for a vaccine. Bruhl noted when registering, a valid email address was needed for SEARHC to notify individuals when tiers opened. Further, Bruhl explained registration numbers helped SEARHC plan for the number of nurses and staff needed to run the vaccine clinics. He stated after receiving the first shot, before leaving the clinic, you would be given an appointment for the second shot. Bruhl stated in this week’s clinics, SEARHC would be able to vaccinate an additional 800 people. In closing, Bruhl said the vaccine supply coming to SEARHC continued to be strong.  SEARHC was looking at receiving 3000 additional vaccines in February for distribution to Sitka and other service areas. Continue to register at https://covid19.searhc.org.

Unified Command recommends citizens to enroll for a vaccination online with Harry Race Pharmacy at Harry Race Pharmacy at Sitka Fire Hall 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 https://cityofsitka.org or https://covid19.searhc.org.

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