Two more cases: Ketchikan, Fairbanks; travel restricted

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WIDE-REACHING MANDATES REACH EVERY CORNER OF THE STATE

Two new cases of COVID-19 have been identified in Alaska today, one in Ketchikan and the other in Fairbanks. Ketchikan is a travel associated case. the one in Fairbanks is unknown.

That brings the total number of COVID-19 cases known to be in Alaska to 14, but testing will certainly be revealing the virus has spread further.

TRAVEL ADVISORY

The State of Alaska has issued a travel advisory, recommending all Alaskans cease non-essential travel, and those who are out of state return home now, if they plan to return in the near future. Those who are in Alaska who live out of state should return to their home communities now.

Airlines have been asked to suspend reservations from out-of-state visitors. Any traveling employee returning to the state is expected to self-quarantine for 14 days.

The State strongly recommends nonresidents do not travel to remote regions in Alaska where there is little medical care available.

Any returning resident is required to self-quarantine, said Dr. Anne Zink, chief medical officer for the State of Alaska.

“A test does not clear you. That 14-day restriction is what can help,” she said.

“This is a call to action for all Alaskans. The importance of slowing down now. It’s critical. We think in a linear term, and this virus moves in an exponential way,” she said. She made a special plea to young people, who are likely going to be unwitting carriers of the virus, which can be lethal for their grandparents as well as those who are weakened from other medical conditions.

KETCHIKAN AND FAIRBANKS MANDATES

Commissioner Adam Crum announced Health Mandate 7: The closure in Ketchikan and Fairbanks of all hair salons, barber shops, acupuncturists, massage therapists and any other professional who works in close contact with clients, except for medical doctors. The order reads as follows:

Mandate 7.1 – Fairbanks North Star Borough & Ketchikan Gateway Borough – Personal Care Services and Gatherings 

  1. Effective immediately all business, congregations, or gatherings in the Fairbanks North Star Borough and the Ketchikan Gateway Borough where individuals are within 6 feet of each other must stop all operations. This includes:
    • Hair salons
    • Day spas and esthetics locations
    • Nail salons
    • Barber shops
    • Tattoo shops
    • Body piercing locations
    • Massage therapy locations
    • Tanning facilities
  2. Additionally no gatherings of more than 10 people may take place, and if a gathering does take place people must be 6 feet apart from each other.
  3. This Mandate prohibits the delivery of services in any of the above business locations by individuals holding licenses issued by the Board of Barbers and Hairdressers, Board of Chiropractic Examiners, and Board of Massage Therapists.
  4. This Mandate prohibits operations for rolfing, reiki, acupuncture, acupressure, and similar services.
  5. This Mandate prohibits licensed massage therapist services spas.
  6. This Mandate prohibits business operations to continue at tanning facilities.
  7. The prohibitions in this Mandate apply to services that may be delivered in the customer’s home or in the home of the licensee.
  8. This order shall take effect immediately and remain in full force and effect until the Governor rescinds or modifies the order.

This mandate does not include urgent, and emergent health care needs, nor health care facilities, however, health care facilities must do risk assessment screening prior to entering the facility. 

People in Ketchikan and Fairbanks, outside their immediate families, should not get closer to each other than six feet, he said. All gatherings in these communities that have more than 10 people are currently banned, and even the small gatherings must observe the six-foot rule.

He also announced Health Mandate 8: All public and private schools across the state are closed through May 1. Students must learn with distance delivery:

Mandate 8.1 – State of Alaska – Public and Private Schools 
Public and private schools are closed to students through May 1, 2020. Students will receive instruction through distance delivery methods. All after school activities will be suspended during this time.

Crum made a plea for blood donors, and also for volunteers to sign up to work at hospitals, and get their credentials now. He said volunteers will be needed in the days ahead.

14 COMMENTS

  1. These advisories and mandates keep getting stricter because people are not responding to basic hygiene and basic medical advice. We are headed towards a statewide lockdown like those seen in CA, NY, and Ill. If people do not start taking these advisories and mandates seriously we will be looking at martial law.
    .
    Wash your hands, stay away from other people, don’t do things you do not need to do in public. Right now we have a choice, if idiots keep doing what they’ve always done soon we will not be given a choice. At the current rate it’s only a matter of days.

    • I think this thing is more communicable than we’ve been led to believe. But saying that hardly anyone has taken this seriously yet.

      • It very well could be more communicable the experts are saying that up to 86% of those with it are asymptomatic. The good news is that all signs are showing that it isn’t as deadly as first thought, which is a very good thing.

  2. Thank GOD we have strong leadership in the Govenor’s office, the school districts and the cabinet. Nobody signed on to this thing, but when the chips are down, I sleep better at night knowing we are being taken care of.

  3. The mandate states to try and not go to villages as they lack Medical facilities etc.. so why is the BLM fire service flying out of staters to villages? Why has the BLM not suspended flying up out of staters and how is it they are not mandating them to quarantine at Fort Wainwright?

  4. “The State strongly recommends nonresidents do not travel to remote regions in Alaska where there is little medical care available.”
    The ITC never should have allowed the Iditarod to travel through all those remote villages into Nome.
    Mushers, Vets, Handlers, Volunteers including “checkers” were all arriving from out of state and participating in this event.
    Foolish decision in my opinion.

    • Hindsight is a wonderful thing.

      There’s an interesting lesson to be learned by reading people’s comments here from a week or two ago too.

      It may well be that the ITC should have called it off.
      It certainly is true that the pandemic is not as portrayed by people here when first commented upon.

      • I remember one who was so confused that they never said the signature gatherers who were standing in public places with clipboards and pens getting in peoples faces all day long should stop putting us all at risk, but that same person also was telling people not to hug their children. Shameful what some people do when they refuse to put politics aside.
        .
        It’s good to see that you’ve stopped telling people they shouldn’t hug their children, I look forward to you putting politics aside and joining the conversation. As this virus spreads and we learn more about it people are allowed to change their views, yourself included.

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