ANCHORAGE — On Thursday, Alaskan’s cell phones alerted their users of the severity of the COVID-19 crisis through a video from Gov. Mike Dunleavy. In the video, Dunleavy asked for Alaskans to act with caution and maintain safe health practices. Dunleavy’s second disaster declaration begins on Monday and will be in effect for 30 days.
“I’m speaking to you today because Alaska is facing an escalating crisis that I need your help to solve. Like the rest of the nation, Alaska’s COVID-19 status is now in the red, that means COVID-19 is rapidly spreading through our communities. Our healthcare workers, first responders and service members are being infected at unprecedented rates. A trauma nurse needs to care for accident victims, paramedics and police officers must be able to report to work to protect Alaskans. If too many are infected, they cannot perform these critical duties. As a result of this surge in cases I am taking the following actions,” said Dunleavy. “The next three weeks are critical. Starting today through the end of November I’m going to ask Alaskans to sacrifice a little more by changing your daily routines. If you own a business that can operate remotely, send your employees home. I’m urging municipalities to take similar action and protect your work force and communities.”
Dunleavy announced that all state employees were directed to work from home wherever possible. Additionally, all state employees must wear masks as well as visitors to state buildings. Dunleavy recommended that Alaskans stay six feet apart from one another and wear a mask when possible.
“Alaskans must return to the same mindset that worked so well this past spring. We know from experience that distance is the primary tool that works in the battle against this virus,” said Dunleavy. “I’m asking everyone to wear a mask in any and every setting. We are entering the holiday season, it’s perfectly understandable to want to spend time with family and friends indoors. This year I’m asking that you consider celebrating differently. My job as Governor is not to tell you how to live your life, my job is to ensure the security and safety of Alaska. I can’t do that without your help.”
There have been 21,275 total COVID-19 cases among Alaska residents and 1,130 among nonresidents. Of those, 14,666 cases remain active among residents and 584 new cases were announced on Friday. There have been a total of 529 people hospitalized and 108 are currently hospitalized with another 13 suspected covid positive awaiting test results. Of the entire population of hospitalized Alaskans, 11.8 percent of them are hospitalized with COVID-19. There have been 97 deaths due to COVID-19 in Alaska in total, five of those from the Mat-Su. In the Mat-Su Valley, there have been 2,224 total resident cases of COVID-19 and 1,688 of those remain active. There have been 27 nonresident cases. There are currently 17 people hospitalized with COVID-19 at Mat-Su Regional Medical Center and there were 82 new cases announced in the Mat-Su on Friday. Of the entire hospital capacity in the Valley, 18.7 percent are hospitalized with COVID-19 and 12.22 percent of all tests in the last seven days have been positive.