Residents attend hearing on hunker down proposal

    Juneau, Alaska (KINY) - The CBJ Assembly heard from several medical professionals and others with opinions on how best to stop the spread of COVID-19.

    The Assembly considered a resolution that would require residents to stay at home as much as possible.  It would also order non-essential businesses to close and for essential businesses that choose to remain open to use social distancing wherever possible.

    Residents urged the Assembly to take all the necessary steps to protect the community from the spread of COVID-19.

    Mandy Cole of AWARE urged the Assembly to consider offering hotel rooms for the homeless.  "People who can't isolate are at a greater risk."

    Dr. Mignon Benjamin with Bartlett Hospital said they lack the workers and ventilators to handle a large number of cases.  She noted they can't transfer patients to Seattle any longer.  She said the hospital can not treat serious lung diseases commonly caused by the virus.

    Mitch Nottingham noted the rapid spread of the disease across the world.  He said Seattle, California, and New York are now in isolation.  He said Juneau will not be immune from the disease.

    Dr. Quigley Peterson, Medical Director for Capital City Fire Rescue, said he is very concerned about the travelers from all around the world that come to Juneau.  He said every step should be made to stop non-essential travel into Juneau.  He said drive by testing has been set up by CCFR at the Fire Center.  He said while they have plenty of masks they could use gowns for medical personnel. 

    Some callers urged parents to keep a closer eye on their children, who are running around neighborhoods unsupervised and not practicing social distancing.  Others suggested the names of patients be publicized so people are aware and the community is proactive.

    Others said Juneau can bounce back economically but can't replace lost lives.

    Dr. Joy Neyhart said the lack of ventilators could lead to decisions of life and death for medical professionals in Juneau.



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