ANCHORAGE — On Friday, Gov. Mike Dunleavy called a press conference on COVID-19 to announce that the 14-day mandatory quarantine for incoming travelers to Alaska will be lifted on June 5.
Health Mandate 10 establishing the 14-day quarantine had been set to expire on Tuesday, June 2. Dunleavy said that more information on the travel protocols will be provided early next week.
“We think this is going to make things a lot easier obviously than the 14 day quarantine for everyone,” said Dunleavy.
On Thursday, Alaska had its first double-digit number of cases since April 7, but on Friday only five new cases of COVID-19 were announced. The Mat-Su still has 24 total cases with none since May 22. A total of 4,974 tests have been administered in the Mat-Su, accounting for 4.67 percent of the population in the borough.
“The pandemic is not over so even though our case numbers are down it’s still really important that we take this seriously and we’re doing everything we can to keep those cases low because that will keep our hospitals open, that will keep our businesses open and that will make sure we enjoy a safe happy healthy summer together,” said Alaska’s Chief Medical Officer Dr. Anne Zink.
Dunleavy said protocols will be put in place requiring a COVID-19 test for Alaskan residents returning home to the Last Frontier or travelers visiting Alaska. Those arriving into Alaska will be required to have had a COVID-19 test with negative results in the last 72 hours and if they misplace their paperwork during their travels, will be stopped at the airport until they can be tested. Dunleavy said that contractors would be made available to provide testing at airports in Juneau, Sitka, Wrangell, Ketchikan, Petersburg, Fairbanks and Anchorage. Currently, Capstone Clinic has provided 2,367 tests to industry workers at airports in Anchorage and Dillingham.
“Clearly the more that we interact with each other, the closer we are together the more time we spend near each other,” said Zink. “Are opportunities for this virus to transmit from one person to another.”
In total, 49,439 Alaskans have been tested for COVID-19 with .9 percent of those tests returning positive. Alaska has 430 total cases of COVID-19 with 367 of those listed as recovered. One new non-resident case was announced Friday and 18 total non-resident cases have been reported. Dunleavy and Zink answered a handful of questions and will return early next week for additional guidance on the removal of the mandatory 14-day quarantine on June 5.
“We’re looking forward to the possibility of having more travel between Alaska and the lower 48 for Alaskans, for visitors coming in and so this is another part of managing this virus,” said Dunleavy. “We’re going to do it responsibly and we’re going to do it in a manner that again helps our economy but keeps people safe.”