Joint Base Elmendorf Richardson declared a public health emergency on Friday, with a return to heightened measures not seen since last January.
With over 1,000 cases of Covid-19 diagnosed in Alaska daily on some days of the past week, JBER personnel have been advised to limit their exposure in areas, such as Anchorage and Mat-Su, where there are no masking requirements, physical distancing measures, or “other COVID mitigations.”
U.S. Air Force Col. Kirsten Aguilar is the commander of the 673rd Air Base Wing and is the base commander. In a news release, she said that she declared the emergency because JBER is experiencing sustained community transmission. The emergency will continue for 30 days and allows Aguilar to enact further measures if needed. For now, employees and visitors must wear masks while indoors, regardless of their vaccination status and follow other directives still in effect from a July memo.
JBER personnel are 95 percent vaccinated for Covid, after Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin on Aug. 9 announced plans to make the vaccine mandatory.
Another 875 cases of Covid were reported in Alaska on Sept. 16, after two days of cases exceeding 1,000 a day. Alaska has had a total of 96,002 known cases of Covid since the pandemic reached the state in March of 2020. 2,207 Alaskans have been hospitalized with Covid during the pandemic and 454 have died, with deaths attributed to Covid. An unknown number have been vaccinated out of state and an unknown number have had Covid but not sought medical help.
At least 57 percent of the Alaska population over the age of 12 has been fully vaccinated, with 62.2 percent having received a partial vaccine. In Anchorage, 66 percent of residents have been at least partially vaccinated, including 83 percent of residents who are over the age of 65.
Visit the State of Alaska’s vaccine monitoring website at this link.