New state health guidelines unveiled for COVID-19



Gov. Mike Dunleavy, Chief Medical Officer Anne Zink, and Alaska Department of Health and Social Service Commissioner Adam Crum announced new recommendations to help prevent or slow the spread of cases of the COVID-19 in Alaska.

The recommendations for medical providers include:

  • Providers no longer need to call the Alaska Section of Epidemiology (SOE) to approve testing.
  • Providers must fill out a COVID-19 Report Form for each patient regardless of which laboratory is performing testing.
  • Updated CDC infection control guidance, available here.

The state also put out a request for information today for housing for COVID-19 patients.

While Alaska currently has no known cases of COVID-19, the disease is spreading rapidly both globally and in the United States.

State officials, working with partners in communities and tribal health groups statewide, have been actively preparing for a positive case and the likelihood of community transmission in Alaska, the Governor’s Office said.

“Information surrounding the Coronavirus Disease is evolving rapidly and we are going to be adjusting our approaches as a state and as individuals. We will be adding more tools to the toolbox to combat this virus and ensure Alaska is prepared,” said Gov. Dunleavy. 

“I want Alaskans to know we have been working on our Coronavirus Disease preparedness daily and are learning from other states and countries. The question is, ‘Are we going to be prepared?’ We are going to be prepared as well as, if not more than, any other state,” Dunleavy said.

Today’s recommendations are based on guidance from the CDC and the Alaska DHSS Division of Public Health.

The recommendations also include everyday preventive measures for all Alaskans and new measures for people older than 60, or those with chronic health conditions, such as staying home as much as possible, keeping prescription medicines and groceries on hand and avoiding crowds.

For all Alaskans

  • Wash your hands often or use hand sanitizer if soap or water are not available. This means washing before going in and out of rooms or buildings, using restrooms, and before eating.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and face.
  • Cover coughs or sneezes.
  • Stop shaking hands.
  • Regularly clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces and items.
Sign appears in the Alaska Capitol.

Recommendations for higher risk Alaskans

People who are over 60, and anyone who has serious chronic health conditions such as heart and lung disease, and diabetes, are at increased risk of developing severe illness and dying from COVID-19. Reduce your exposure:
o Stay home as much as possible. Ask family or friends to bring in items you need.
o Avoid crowds and mass gatherings where exposure risk is greater. o Stay at least six feet away from others who are sick.
o Limit close contact and wash your hands often.
o If you can, telecommute for work.

Watch for symptoms including cough, fever, and shortness of breath.

Have a plan in case you get sick and know how to take care of yourself. This includes having necessary supplies on hand, such as prescription and over-the-counter medications, other medical necessities, groceries, and other household items.

“These voluntary measures may seem sudden and extreme to some Alaskans, but the time to act is now, even before we detect cases in Alaska,” said Dr. Zink. “Alaska is prepared but we are a unique state, with unique circumstances. We are asking for the cooperation of all Alaskans in following these guidelines. Based on what we know from previous epidemics, we know that early invention can help save lives.” 

For the latest information on COVID-19, click here.


Gov. Jay Inslee is expected to issue an order on Wednesday to restrict gatherings of more than 250 people, including sporting events and concerts. No word if the restriction will apply to places of worship.


  1. Last year over 88,000 people died in America from Alcohol related deaths.
    So far 22 people have died this year from “coronavirus” in America.
    Which one is the real epidemic sweeping across the U.S.?

    • You’d think people would start taking a global pandemic seriously.

      But, for some? Nah, they’re in some kind of self induced bubble.

      • Taking it serious? What constitutes taking it serious? Panic? Steve is 100% correct. Put it in perspective and it is not the end of the
        world threat it is reported to be. It’s the freakin flu!

        • No, it’s not the flu

          You’d be doing yourself and everyone a favor by informing yourself so you stop spreading misinformation and lies.

  2. You’ve got to wonder why we aren’t ramping up broad based testing as is the usually accepted practice.

    Instead, we’re told “we are going to be adjusting our approaches” and “we will be adding more tools to the toolbox.”

    It’s long past time that we should be listening to indistinct and obscure assurances that something might be put into play in some indeterminate future.

    We should be undertaking comprehensive broad based testing right now.

  3. This is not the flu. The Governor is right to take this seriously. You can’t drive a car or run a state just using your rearview mirror. You cannot compare past deaths due to alcohol vs COVID-19. If your hear grunts, see brown bear tracks, you don’t look behind you and say no big problem. You remove yourself from the bear and if you can find a vaccine or shotgun you use it. This is not a question of politics this is taking a pragmatic path to lead us to safety

  4. Corona virus testing to be covered by medicaid. Should we cut medicaid funding more then? I don’t see much from the “drown government in a bathtub” crowd these days.

    • Yes Jerry we should cut medicaid funding more, especially if we need to fund for more vivid testing, maybe you would prefer we create a entire new branch of government call covid response and we spend untold trillions of dollars to pay for everything covid related. Just because there is a pandemic doesn’t mean we should shut the world down and unleash government spending.

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