Fairbanks docs plead with governor: Shelter in place the entire state


A group of 50 doctors in Fairbanks have sent a letter to Gov. Mike Dunleavy, on Sunday asking that he enact a shelter-in-place policy for the entire state as well as a mandated travel ban.

“We are physicians from Fairbanks, Alaska, contacting you out of concern for our patients, our community and our fellow healthcare workers. We work in different medical specialties and clinical settings across Interior Alaska but we are unified in our expert medical advice:

“1. Alaska must have a shelter in place order immediately; and 2. Alaska needs a mandated travel ban.

“We are seeing a rise in laboratory confirmed COVID19 cases as well as a dramatic increase in patients presenting with symptoms that are clinically consistent with COVID19 infection here in Fairbanks.

“New data suggests that COVID19 infection appears to be predominantly spread by people who are minimally sick or asymptomatic. It is these very citizens who feel well and are not adopting the necessary social distancing measures that are spreading COVID19 in our community. We appreciate the steps that you have already taken to restrict travel and encourage Alaskans to stay home but it is becoming clear that the voluntary recommendations on travel and social distancing are proving inadequate. Many Alaskans have not adopted these necessary measures and continue to move around our community and the state without regard for the consequences.

“We implore you to take immediate action to help slow the spread of COVID19 so that our limited healthcare resources will not be overwhelmed. Acting today will save Alaskan lives.”

The letter was signed from a range of practitioners, including family medicine to specialists in the Fairbanks area.

 Dr. Zink issued a public response to the doctors’ public letter:

We appreciate and understand the concern of these physicians from Fairbanks. The Alaska Department of Health and Social Services’ epidemiology team is working around the clock on the response to this pandemic. Next steps are constantly evaluated and discussed several times a day. What all Alaskans need to do right now is make sure they are washing their hands, properly covering their cough or sneezes, practicing social distancing and staying home when they are sick. These steps will help everyone stay healthy. Every Alaskan who makes these changes helps mitigate the spread of this virus across our state, which could save the lives of our fellow Alaskans.” 


    • Our health providers are now hysterical? Flubros never quit with their epic Dunning-Kruger symptoms. Maybe somebody actually has information a Flu bro doesn’t. Maybe the people that are getting flooded with calls know something and don’t need to read a Flubro article by a truther crank.

  1. There was also another letter sent to the Governor from around 150 statewide medical professionals urging the same thing.
    Hawaii has gone to mandating anyone coming in from out of state go on 14 day quarantine, they have about twice our population, they are geographically isolated, and they have limited hospital beds (I believe per capita we have a few more beds than they do), our population is obviously much more spread out than theirs.
    With the recent numbers from this weekend ticking up, look for more restrictive changes today. Until the numbers start going down restrictions will keep going up.

    • I don’t think quarantining folks coming in a mandatory but I do know they are being told to volunteer to do so.

      • From the Honolulu Star-Advitizer
        “In the state’s toughest measure yet in battling the coronavirus pandemic, Gov. David Ige on Saturday ordered residents and visitors returning to Hawaii to undergo a 14-day quarantine starting Thursday.

        The mandate — a first of its kind in the nation — represents the final blow in temporarily sucking the life out of Hawaii’s tourism industry, the economic lifeblood of the state.”
        Hawaii is seeing similar numbers and travel related case like we are.
        “The announcement came on the same day the state Department of Health reported the state’s tally of coronavirus cases jumped from 37 on Friday to 48 today — all but one travel- related and that one still under investigation.”
        The article goes on to say
        “Those under quarantine can leave their designated quarantine location only for medical emergencies or to seek medical care. Visitors are not allowed other than a physician, health care provider, or individual authorized to enter the designated quarantine location by the director of HIEMA.

        Violation of the quarantine will be a misdemeanor and subject to a possible $5,000 fine and/or jail time.”

  2. It was very irresponsible for the State to recently urge any Alaskans who are currently out of State to return home immediately. There are thousands of snowbirds scattered throughout the Southwest who would be better advised to shelter in place if they have the means to do so. Why State Health officials would issue such a dangerous edict to older Alaskans is beyond me. It also increases the risk of bringing more Covid 19 cases to Alaska. Change it now.

  3. Too little, too late. Still seeing random people in public giving full on gift giver hugs.


    Prepare to defend yourself.

    • Maybe we need to close every place the young congregate, because they feel invulnerable and insist on hanging out with their friends. Their idea of social distancing is using condoms.

  4. I was in Wright’s Air office in Fairbanks yesterday. I grew up flying with them since Al Wright owned it over 40 years ago. Great company, always good people. But if there is a wide spread outbreak of the C-19 virus, I was thinking that’s a small office for 20 people and small airplanes to fly in for an hour or two. I did talk to Brett the owner about getting infrared thermal temp scanners to check if people were 98.6F or greater. A likely indicator that the have the C-19 virus or some other illness that might be contagious. At least he listened and thought it was a good idea too. He has been the only person of influence that has listened in Alaska so far. I would hate to see them shut down. Either way, I think a lot of people are going to die before this is over.

  5. COVID19 appears to be killing a higher percentage of the already weakened and over 60 crowd, than the common flavors of the flu.
    Apparently China’s CCP decided that the retirement age group is expendable, denying treatment to them. A very pragmatic solution.
    America seems to be going to let COVID-19 play out in stages, over some years perhaps. Slow the progress to preserve our overall medical capacity at any single point in time. Those who will die, will be spread over several winters. The rest who get infected, and survive, will eventually build up national immunity. This will hopefully reduce the seasonal threat, with COVID-19 becoming just another flavor of the flu. The International Olympic Committee is stepping up its planning for alternative scenarios to the Tokyo 2020 Games amid the global rise of COVID-19 cases and pressure from athletes and sport federations to delay the Games..
    So, instead of a year or so of dead bodies in mass graves, there will just be more weak and old folks dying off every season, until it blends into the background noise.
    This is why we can be so concerned about our economy. We’re not being cruel like China, reducing the vulnerable population in one fell swoop. In the end the practical result will be approximately the same, but we will have made a commendable effort to not be total d***s about it, like the CCP.

  6. I read a lot of the danger of those who get COVID-19 and how about 2% of people in the U.S. who contract it have died. I am not reading anything of how the 98% who contracted it have survived and possibly overcome it through whatever treatment and empowered immune system. Will someone address this?
    I am concerned of the options for people needing healthcare and facilities that are shutting down. Over the past week I have heard of Alaskans who are receiving healthcare treatment for conditions that otherwise will be terminal but are told that they will no longer get such treatment for months. Is this selective genocide of our fragile Alaskans?
    As a healthcare professional I am concerned for my employees and patients. To suggest a Shelter in Place / Martial Law when so many are voluntarily doing so can creates more hysteria than what already exists. It is also important to differentiate those who cautiously engage in the community from socially blatantly offenders.
    Never-the-less, our situation is challenging that requires prudent decision-making with minimized impact on many and plethora of creative options to resolve (telemedicine).

    • Ken,
      We are not hearing much from the 98 percent who survive, nor is the media focusing on how the 2 percent who are dying have a multitude of underlying conditions such as hypertension, immune systems that are compromised and obesity.
      When over 100 million Americans are suffering from hypertension and another 70 million are considered obese, we are lucky that only 2 percent who contract this disease are dying.
      The Coronavirus is bringing a bigger picture to light, one of an aging American population that suffers from cardiac disease and obesity…a root problem that needs to be solved with a change of our standard American diet and exercise not by martial law.
      When almost all of the cases in Alaska are linked with travel to the outside, it seems obvious that some type of quarantine is necessary when assessing those who arrive from the “outside”.
      Closing down small businesses and forcing AK residents to shelter in place just leads us closer to an authoritarian state, while it destroys many aspects of the private sector and leads us closer to socialism where everyone is dependent on the government to survive.

  7. Is the cure worse than the disease? Is plunging our society into a recession, maybe a depression really necessary? We are all going to all have to come in contact with this virus and get sick, or not get sick, before this is over!

  8. The docs undoubtedly mean well but in IMO, the call for action should have a timeline or some criteria for changing the restrictions. Absent that, we could be “sheltering in place” indefinitely. And I do not see that as amounting to a future for anyone.

  9. Governor Dunleavy makes decisions such as “shelter in place” at the recommendation of Dr. Anne Zink. As of today Dr. Zink does not agree with the physician letter for “shelter in place” The need for further action is obvious , since all Alaska cases are a result of poor airport screening.

    With lives at stake, decisions like this should err on the side of caution and public safety.

  10. Dr. Zink’s reply to letter from 150 Doctors requesting shelter in place:

    “wash your hands often” ?????

  11. Last I looked, tested vs positive we are at 2%, Nationally, 1 in 10 tested are positive or 10%.
    Drastic in closing down flights of people coming in? Yes, but that will do less harm to our economy a hell of a lot less than a State-wide shutdown!
    I’m calling on the Governor, that once the 45 minute test is available that our State and other small population states do a full on testing. Then those positive of course quarantine and for the rest of us go back to work!

  12. The Defense Minister of Israel is suggesting a better approach might be to quarantine those most vulnerable, Grandma and Grandpa, those with underlying health problems and immune system deficiencies. Let the rest of the population use best practices such as social distancing, hygiene. Open the economy back up for so we don’t ruin it too and let it run its course. Leaving the economy shut down until the infection goes to 0 will just add to the misery. Leaving POT shops open and closing gun stores here in Anchorage is an illustration that the leaders don’t know what the hell they are doing and will gladly use the opportunity to achieve their political agenda. (And here I thought smoking was bad for your respiratory health) See arbitrary hearing for Dunleavy recall while other cases are postponed by the Alaska Supreme Court. “Never let a crisis go to waste”.

  13. You so-called doctors can kindly stuff your “…it is becoming clear that the voluntary recommendations on travel and social distancing are proving inadequate. Many Alaskans have not adopted these necessary measures and continue to move around our community and the state without regard for the consequences.”
    Who are you to make such judgments?
    If you sorry lot had the guts to say America’s Constitution must be suspended immediately, all civil rights suspended, and all citizens, bums, and illegal immigrants must be interned until “Fairbanks docs ” declare otherwise, productive Alaskans might respect your honesty, if not your competency.
    But no, you got hysteria-virus, you got it so bad, you expect productive Alaskans to accept your authority or we’re all gonna die then you can’t get your Medicaid money or say “We told you so” because nobody’ll be around to pay it or hear it.
    What’s a lot more likely to happen is a deluge of formal complaints hitting the State Medical Board asking the Board to order you lot to stop your irresponsible panic-spreading behavior, or be sanctioned.
    Fools, remember your Hippocratic Oath, “first do no harm…” which might conceivably apply to spreading panic, inciting riots, among fact-deficient Deplorables?
    Apparently in your tiny minds those words should be suspended right along with our Constitution? You don’t care about inevitable social unrest because your escape route’s already planned and paid?
    One might recommend, kindly of course, retracting your hysteria, broadcasting good, optimistic news about progress against the China virus, including what Alaska people are doing right to combat it, and volunteering your services to help Governor Dunleavy, just like real doctors do at national level with President Trump and Vice President Pence.
    This may be asking a bit much of “Fairbanks docs”. Maybe it takes a crisis to realize one’s career choice isn’t the best fit. Still, student loans must be paid. Perhaps medical-career options in the Lower 48 which don’t involve interaction with live people might be a better choice?

    • So are you willing to put yourself at the back of the line for triage to access a vent? Maybe a placard. When we see you acting recklessly in public we’ll know that you decided to risk death to make a point and go on about our business.

      • One “risks death” every moment of one’s existence, what else is new?
        Forgotten our John 15:13, have we? One “vent” left, you need it, somebody needs it more, any doubt what happens?
        Or is it just the latest fad, everybody gotta have a “vent” plus a pallet of toilet paper?
        Been to an ER lately? Think China flu’s the only thing needing a “vent”, you just flunked your residency, Doc. Recall such a crisis when swine flu hit the country?
        No, you don’t because Democrats and their news media weren’t pathologically obsessed with overthrowing Obama’s presidency by isolating Americans and destroying America’s economy to get rid of him.
        Don’t go down their rabbit hole, Brother, you deserve better.
        China flu may be bad, but hysteria-virus is worse, more contagious, deadlier than any natural bug, and you don’t need that.

        • I’m not afraid of dying. What does give me pause is being the typhoid Mary that kills off a few hundred people because I decided I was a budding epidemiologist.

          Hysteria? You ain’t seen nothing yet. It’s the complacent people who are going to panic. A lot of my stockpiles I put up in the mid-90s. Mocking prudence is going to be quite hysterical when you find out that you’re Aesop’s grasshopper.

  14. Is there a strain of something in one of our major water sources? Too much copper? Is it just the end of the roader Alaskan mentality blown to extreme cartoonist dimensions? Don’t trust the government? Fine, neither do I. Can’t take a few precautions without your identity crumbling around your feet? Sounds like a mental health crisis.

    • There is a big difference between my Constitutional Rights and the Constitutional Rights of others. My liberties end where your nose begins. If you have covid and it enters my nose because you couldn’t be bothered not to spit in my face then you have violated my rights. Many of us would do well to remember that in the coming days. Being asked didn’t work so we find ourselves in a position where our government is mandating that we do not stuff a disease into our neighbors nose. We only have ourselves to blame for this.

      • I agree completely Steve-O although I’m less natural law than I used to be. Too many tragedies of the commons for my taste. COVID-19 is sizing up to be exhibit A.

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