RESTAURANT AND BARS WILL REMAIN CLOSED TO DINE-IN FOR NOW
The number of cases of COVID-19 coronavirus rose to 143 today in Alaska with 10 new cases diagnosed since yesterday. More than 5,000 Alaskans have been tested for what some call the “Wuhan Virus,” which originated in Wuhan, China.
The cases were Anchorage (2), Fairbanks (3), North Pole (2), Juneau (1), Ketchikan (1) and Wasilla (1).
That brings Anchorage to a total of 67 known cases, while Kenai Peninsula has 8, Fairbanks/North Pole has 40, Mat-Su has four, Juneau has 10 and Ketchikan has 14.
Dr. Anne Zink, Alaska’s chief medical officer, said that masks that people are now using with greater frequency are a potential way to have asymptomatic people not spread the virus to others, but that it’s important to save the N95 masks for health professionals dealing with the virus.
Zink said she has been looking at data relating to masks from the Czech Republic, South Korea, and China. “And out of an abundance of caution we’re seeing this movement for ‘masks for all.’ Realize that the mask is not going to prevent the disease completely,” she said. Social distancing, hand washing, not touching your face, and sanitizing surfaces is more effective, but masks can help, since so many people have the virus but evidently have no symptoms.
“Some people have the virus in their nose even though they feel well,” she said.
The governor’s press conferences have been feeding the public with a firehose of information on how the State is responding to the pandemic. The topics deal with everything from eligibility requirements for the Pioneer Homes and senior benefits programs, to how children are accessing distance learning.
The health mandates announced two weeks ago that closed libraries, museums, dining establishments and bars through the end of March will continue until at some point in the future, said Adam Crum, commissioner of Health and Social Services.
Gov. Dunleavy said that Alaskans seem to be taking to heart the importance of social distancing, and that Alaska may have a natural advantage in that regard. But he warned that Alaska will be in for a tough ride over the next couple of weeks, if the epidemiological models pan out.