Governor issues public health disaster emergency



Gov. Mike Dunleavy today issued a declaration of public health disaster emergency in response to the COVID-19 anticipated outbreak.

The declaration initiates a unified command structure between the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services, Alaska Department of Military and Veterans Affairs, and the Department of Public Safety, and fully engages state departments to utilize all capabilities to ensure a swift and effective COVID-19 response. It also allows the State to apply and access federal funds for emergencies.

“My administration has worked daily to coordinate our response efforts and keep Alaskans informed about COVID-19. Beginning with the flight to repatriate Americans living in Wuhan in January, our team has responded with a level of professionalism that is a model for the nation,” said Gov. Dunleavy. “Alaska still does not have any confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus disease; however, by issuing this disaster declaration, we are taking a proactive approach to accessing all necessary resources. As we are faced with the potential to have confirmed cases in Alaska, the state will elevate its response and bring to bear every element of state government needed to address this serious illness.”

Adam Crum, commissioner of the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services said it is highly probable that an outbreak of COVID-19 will occur in the near future in Alaska.

“We have seen a great level of voluntary coordination between local, Tribal, state, and federal partners to date.  As the impact of the virus expands we are here to support our DHSS partners.  We have established a Unified Command and activated our plans to coordinate activities statewide,” said Maj. Gen. Torrance Saxe, commissioner of the Alaska Department of Military and Veterans Affairs. “Uniformed members of the Alaska Organized Militia, including the Alaska National Guard, are prepared to respond to the needs of our communities and DHSS as requested.” 

In addition to setting up the unified command, the declaration permits the DHSS commissioner to exercise state statues related to isolation and quarantine measures, and makes it easier for the state to purchase supplies, hire temporary staff, and access disaster relief funds for public assistance. The DHSS emergency operations center has been activated since January. The State of Alaska emergency operations center been on standby for several weeks.

On March 2, 2020, Governor Dunleavy submitted a supplemental budget amendment to fund COVID-19 preparedness and response efforts. The supplemental budget amendment provides $4 million in state funds and allows for the receipt of $9 million in federal support for mitigation and response efforts.

As of March 10, 2020, 47 individuals in Alaska have been tested for COVID-19, with 31 negative tests and 16 tests currently pending. State health officials expect to detect cases in the near future and are preparing for the likelihood of community transmission in Alaska. Nationally, 647 cases have been reported with 25 deaths.

All Alaskans are encouraged to stay informed, listen to their local elected leaders and their primary care providers.

Click here for a signed copy of the disaster declaration and additional information.

For the latest information on Alaska’s response to COVID-19, please visit


  1. The 647 cases and death report is really small.. We have a population of 360,000,000 in the United States.. So, I think everyone has been put in a panic mode…in the world, that we know. What is there about China’s issues that gain notice by spreading a virus and what kind of virus have they engineered or had in their midst for such a long time. What is the purpose of this distraction? Since China has the capability to engineer a virus for biological warfare, why hasn’t the United States looked at that as a means to mitigate? Are we actually in the mitigation of the biological warfare virus and how we were notified of the dangers and results of the virus? Panic, panic, and panic. China’s problem is trade, agreements with world countries and how they flex, distractions, cyber-security issues, intellectual theft problems. Where is/was the real problem? Oh, we get big federal bucks and congress gets to look like they are working, for a change. Here in Alaska, the same. We get big federal bucks. Wow! What a cover!!

  2. Thank you Governor Dunleavy clear infirmary update that does not leave us in the dark. Very grateful that you are in leadership for our state..

  3. I want/need to believe that for most Alaskan, COVID 19 may not be a big deal. That said, the numbers, even when “not bad”, look scary. It is estimated that 15 percent of those that contract the virus will require hospitalization. Thus, if we have 735,000 residents, perhaps sixty percent will be infected, or 442,000. Applying the 15 percent number, that means 66,000 will need hospital services. That is daunting. Further, if a two percent mortality rate is accurate, that is 8,960 dead. We have never seen anything like that.

  4. Nationally there are more than double the cases claimed.

    Why aren’t we instituting broad based testing yet?

    Lot’s of talk about what we might do later, after it’s too late.

  5. How about the southern border? Are we still enforcing illegal border crossings with an eye toward the CVirus?

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