Juneau reports 33 COVID cases Thursday, CBJ to keep current mitigation strategies in place

    Juneau, Alaska (KINY) Of the 33 new individuals, 31 are residents and 2 are nonresidents. City and Borough of Juneau Emergency Planning Chief Robert Barr said that due to Juneau's high rate of vaccination and the effectiveness of the vaccine against COVID, they are not currently talking about increasing the community mitigation strategies.

    Two of the nonresidents are here for tourism, and two are under investigation.

    There are 5 people with COVID hospitalized at Bartlett Regional Hospital.

    The Juneau School District reports three individuals who’ve tested positive for COVID-19 while in school. One at Auke Bay Elementary reported late September 1, One at Sayéik: Gastineau resulting in one classroom quarantined, and One at Juneau-Douglas High School.

    Statewide, 727 new people were identified with COVID-19. 682 are residents and 45 are nonresidents.

    CBJ emergency planning Chief Robert Barr spoke on the uptick of cases in Juneau this week while a guest on the KINY morning show.

    "We reported 72 cases on Monday, 32 On Tuesday, those are high numbers," said Barr. "Part of that is catch up from the weekends, the team of public health professionals that we collaborate with is really overwhelmed right now. They're responsible for all that data management as well as contact tracing, and those numbers are a little behind, but it's still a big number, no matter how you count it."

    The city released a guide on when to get tested for covid and when not to, Barr said if you are showing the symptoms, get tested.

    "Any symptoms like fatigue or cough, or, certainly if you're losing your sense of taste or smell, you have a fever, chills, that sort of thing, we want you to get tested. If you've traveled recently, definitely take advantage of that airport testing through Capstone clinic."

    He said the more complicated example is if an individual is a close contact

    "That one is tricky, so a close contact is; if you've been told by someone who has COVID or by public health that you were within six feet of them for more than 15 minutes over the period of a day when that person was infectious that's what makes you a close contact. So we want you to get tested if that's the case, but importantly, if you're a contact, of a contact. You don't necessarily need to get tested," he said. "In fact we don't want you to test because our testing resources are a little bit strained right now, there's a lot of people needing testing because COVID is really prevalent right now."

    Barr was asked where the city mitigation plan is goes going forward, he noted that Juneau is a highly vaccinated community.

    "So that gives us some leeway with our community mitigation strategies, we don't have to clamp down as hard as we would have had to do with these sorts of numbers earlier in the pandemic because we have access to that fantastic tool, the vaccine," he said. "So I think as long as we continue to see the vaccine itself continuing to be effective against COVID-19, we're probably in a little bit of a holding pattern, unless something really significant changes. So we're not talking about increasing the community mitigation strategies right now. Something significant and substantial would have to change for us to consider an increase."

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