Sitka Unified Command issues weekly COVID-19 report

    Sitka, Alaska (KINY) - COVID-19 Incident Commander John Leach reported cases are increasing, and the spread was expected.

    Leach reported on the most recent Wastewater Analysis Report. This week’s test exhibited an indicator of COVID-19 in wastewater, which suggests community transmission is taking place.

    Resolution 2020-30 was approved by the City and Borough of Sitka Assembly on Nov. 10 encouraging people to continue COVID-19 prevention efforts for keeping our schools open.

    Thor Christianson, the head of Logistics Operations, said he has been receiving inquiries from the general public about where to get supplies.

    Public Information Officers Jessica Ieremia and Sara Peterson spoke of social media messaging that included: interstate travel requirements, encouraging residents to test if they’re traveling within Alaska, reminding citizens that face coverings are required in CBS facilities, stigma related to COVID-19 and encouraging kindness, local mitigation guidance for Sitka, starting to send out messaging on DHSS winter resiliency campaign, and resources from DHSS pertaining to steps to take after testing and contacts.

    Peterson shared in the near future; a second COVID-19 alert level sign would be placed on the Harbor Drive side of the Library.

    Peterson thanked Fire Chief Warren for a recent video issuing a plea to citizens to continue to take COVID-19 prevention measures. Working on messaging for the holidays is up next and planning to contact the City of Valdez to find out more about their Valdez COVID Conscious Business program with hopes to implement a similar program in Sitka.

    SEARHC Liaison Maegan Bosak shared, as of Thursday, 33,117 tests in Sitka have been processed with 117 positive results.

    Free asymptomatic testing has stopped with SEARHC who is now prioritizing symptomatic testing.

    People are reminded to call the COVID-19 hotline at 907- 966-8799 to schedule an appointment for a test. Asymptomatic testing is still available for those needing to travel for a $145 fee.

    Rob Janik, Planning Section Chief, reiterates to Sitkans to stay safe, limit social contacts, think twice before going out and socializing, wear a mask, and get tested if you have symptoms.

    Grace Roller, Public Health Nurse, reported that new cases keep coming in. Most people are cooperative and quarantine or isolate when asked, but a few people have declined to list their contacts.

    If you have been in close contact with a person who has tested positive, the recommendation is to quarantine for 14 days from your last known exposure and try to get a test seven days after last known exposure. Quarantine and test if you know you have been in contact with a positive individual. When you do the test, give correct and accurate contact information.

    Janelle Vanasse, Mt. Edgecumbe High School Superintendent, said they received a positive test result on campus, they are isolating, and the school is in the process of contact tracing.

    Sitka School District Superintendent John Holst spoke of how the district started with virtual instruction on Nov. 11.

    Sitka Unified Command urges citizens to remain diligent and practice proper hygiene measures, such as washing your hands often, avoiding close contact with others, and keeping your social circle small.

    In addition, stay home if you feel ill, wear a face covering when around others, and clean and disinfect objects and surfaces on a regular basis.

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