ANCHORAGE — Gov. Mike Dunleavy announced only one new case of COVID-19 Friday at his now-thrice weekly press conferences to address the state’s response to the global pandemic.
Of the 388 people who have tested positive in Alaska, 343 of those individuals have recovered. Out of 32,418 total tests, the 388 that have tested positive account for only 1.2 percent of the total number tested. However, Dunleavy did announce two new hospitalizations bringing the cumulative total up to 41 on Friday.
Dunleavy was joined by Alaska’s Chief Medical Officer Dr. Anne Zink who discussed the trip with Dr. Alexander Eastman from the Department of Homeland Security around coastal and rural Alaskan communities. Department of Health and Social Services Commissioner Adam Crum provided information on the continuation of Health Mandate 10 that requires people to quarantine for 14 days upon arrival in Alaska, which is set to expire on June 2. Crum also provided additional information on Health Mandate 17 with additional guidance for commercial fishermen and Lieutenant Governor Kevin Meyer provided a brief update on upcoming elections.
“You’re going to see more and more that we aren’t shifting away from the virus but what we’re doing is shifting to managing the virus within our lives and in our society,” said Dunleavy.
Meyer said that the August 18 primary election will take place as planned at 165 in-person polling places throughout Alaska. Meyer noted other states that have gone through or will shortly hold elections with in-person voting rather than moving to a by-mail election as Anchorage conducted in April. Meyer did say that absentee voting will be promoted statewide to prevent people from being required to vote in person. Meyer said that the governor is attempting to balance the health and safety of Alaskans with their constitutional right to vote.
Personal protective equipment is already being distributed for election workers.
“We know this process works and will work. It is going to be different, a little unusual but again we’re used to that here in dealing with this virus so we’re going to be ready come August 18 for the primary election to go off smoothly, successfully, and safely,” said Meyer.
Crum said that Health Mandate 10 would not be rescinded on Friday and that 14-day quarantines for people traveling into Alaska would remain in effect. However, Crum did say that more rigorous screening will be arriving at Alaska’s largest ingress at the Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport. Capstone will provide on-site testing through the state lab for those who require screening and travelers should plan to stay in Anchorage for at least 48 hours upon arrival.
Dr. Zink said that one of the biggest positives of the COVID-19 pandemic has been schools’ ability to deliver meals to their students through a waiver from the Department of Agriculture.
“Working with Dr. Eastman we were able to secure that waiver to extend past June so schools can continue to support students with delivery of food,” said Zink.