Gov. Mike Dunleavy, Sen. Bert Stedman, and Alaska Chief Medical Officer Dr. Anne Zink spent the day the southernmost communities in Alaska, ending up in Hyder, which is a border community with Stewart, British Columbia.
Dr. Zink carried with her a case of Covid-19 vaccines to administer to any residents who wanted one, as well as for any residents of Stewart who wanted one.
Stewart is a community of about 400 people, and Hyder has about
14 80 residents. Under normal times, the communities’ residents go back and forth across the border, but the Canadians have closed the border to the United States, due to the Covid pandemic. At the same time, Canada has been slow to vaccinate its residents, while Alaska has an abundance of vaccine.
Dunleavy and Stedman met with Mayor Gina McKay of Stewart, who came to the Alaska side to discuss the importance of reopening the border so families in Hyder and Stewart can see each other.
Dunleavy, Stedman, and Zink also visited Ketchikan, Saxman, and Metlakatka before taking a small floatplane to Hyder for the vaccine and cross-border goodwill mission.
While in Ketchikan, Dunleavy met with various community leaders including Borough Mayor Rodney Dial, City Mayor Bob Sivertsen, Saxman Mayor Frank Seludo, among others.
Dunleavy and Stedman have been working cooperatively on a long-term sustainability plan for the Alaska Marine Highway System, and an announcement was expected today about the progress of their planning.