COVID-19 Case Counts (Last update 11/26/21 at 3:00 PM)
On September 29, 2021 the City and Borough of Sitka Assembly extended and updated a local ordinance requiring use of a face covering in certain indoor settings, with a penalty.
All individuals must wear a face covering over their nose and mouth when they are indoors in public settings or communal spaces outside the home. Those who do not mask in public indoor spaces may be fined $50 dollars.
The ordinance will be in effect any time the community's risk level is "high" and will go dormant when the risk level is downgraded.
Updated November 23, 2021:
The City of Sitka's COVID alert level is currently substantial. The following mitigations are recommended:
Here's how the COVID alert level is determined with Sitka's case rate (Updated Nov 1):
On November 2, 2021, the US Food & Drug Administration approved the use of the pediatric Pfizer vaccine in children age 5 and older.
On October 20, 2021, the FDA expanded the availability of booster doses, authorizing use of Moderna, Johnson and Johnson
- Individuals who received the Pfizer or Moderna COVID-19 vaccines may receive a single booster dose of those vaccines administered at least 6 months after completion of the primary series. Boosters are generally available for anyone who is...
- 65 years of age and older
- 18 through 64 years of age at high risk of severe COVID-19
- 18 through 64 years of age with frequent institutional or occupational exposure to SARS-CoV-2
- The use of a single booster dose of the Janssen (Johnson & Johnson) COVID-19 Vaccine may be administered at least 2 months after completion of the single-dose primary regimen to individuals 18 years of age and older.
A third vaccine dose now recommended for immunocompromised Alaskans now:
On August 20, 2021, the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services (DHSS) announced that it is is encouraging all Alaskans who are immunocompromised to follow a national recommendation to get a three-dose vaccine series now. This technically differs from a booster dose. Read more about the difference between a "third dose" and a booster dose here.
Local health clinics are scheduling appointments to administer third doses and booster doses of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines for immunocompromised persons. Find vaccine registration information below:
Vaccine Availability as of November 2, 2021:
The COVID-19 vaccine is now available to anyone living or working in Alaska who is age 5 or older.
The U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) has granted full approval for the Pfizer, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccines in the United States. Pfizer is authorized for use in children age 12 and older, and a new pediatric Pfizer vaccine has been approved for children age 5-11. Both Moderna and Johnson & Johnson are authorized for use in adults age 18 and over. Vaccines are widely available and are attributed with bringing about steep declines in the coronavirus infection rate in the United States.
In Sitka, there are two ways to register for vaccines: through the Southeast Alaska Regional Health Consortium (SEARHC) or Harry Race and White's Pharmacies.
- The Southeast Alaska Regional Health Consortium (SEARHC)
Anyone can add their name to SEARHC's vaccine list to receive a notification when a vaccine is available to them. Fill out the vaccine survey here.
- Harry Race and White's Pharmacies
You can learn more about their plans here. Schedule an appointment through the state for one of the Harry Race/White's vaccination clinics at the Sitka Firehall, register with Harry Race/White's at the state's PrepMod site, or call 907-206-2202.
Updated July 27, 2021:
- On July 27, the Centers For Disease Control updated its recommendations for fully vaccinated people, given new evidence on the B.1.617.2 (Delta) variant currently circulating in the United States. The new recs included:
- Fully vaccinated people should wear a mask in public indoor settings in areas of substantial or high transmission.
- Fully vaccinated people might choose to wear a mask regardless of the level of transmission, particularly if they are immunocompromised or at increased risk for severe disease from COVID-19, or if they have someone in their household who is immunocompromised, at increased risk of severe disease or not fully vaccinated.
- Fully vaccinated people who have a known exposure to someone with suspected or confirmed COVID-19 to be tested 3-5 days after exposure, and to wear a mask in public indoor settings for 14 days or until they receive a negative test result.
- The CDC recommends universal indoor masking for all teachers, staff, students, and visitors to schools, regardless of vaccination status
Updated July 15:
Due to a recent and unprecedented surge in cases (primarily among unvaccinated individuals), the Sitka Emergency Operations Center has advised a return to masking in public places where 6-feet of separation cannot be maintained -- regardless of someone's vaccination status. This policy is in force in all municipal buildings; in private buildings, such as grocery stores and churches, business owners may establish alternative policies.
On the surface, Sitka's return to masking may seem contradictory to guidance from the US Centers for Disease control covering behaviors for vaccinated individuals. However, the CDC guidance allows for local jurisdictions to create their own guidance as necessary (see the italicized text in the next section).
Updated May 13, 2021:
On May 8, 2021, the CDC issued revised public health recommendations for fully vaccinated people. (People are considered fully vaccinated for COVID-19 beginning at 2 weeks after they've received the second dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine).
The following recommendations apply to non-healthcare settings.
Fully vaccinated people can:
- Resume activities without wearing masks or physically distancing, except where required by federal, state, local, tribal, or territorial laws, rules and regulations, including local business and workplace guidance.
- Resume domestic travel and refrain from testing before or after travel or self-quarantine after travel
- Refrain from testing before leaving the United States for international travel (unless required by the destination) and refrain from self-quarantine after arriving back in the United States.
- Refrain from testing following a known exposure, if asymptomatic, with some exceptions for specific settings.
- Refrain from quarantine following a known exposure if asymptomatic.
- Refrain from routine screening testing if feasible.
- Source: US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Updated May 27, 2021
The State of Alaska has no special entry or travel testing requirements. This website contains information and advisories for travelers, as well as links to community-specific travel restrictions, and information about arriving via the Alaska Ferry or road. Beginning June 1, 2021, all travelers to Alaska will be eligible to receive a free COVID-19 vaccine in Alaska, including at participating airports
Updated May 27, 2021
If you think you have been exposed to COVID-19 and develop a fever and symptoms, such as cough or difficulty breathing, the US Centers for Disease Control recommends that you isolate and obtain a covid test -- even if you are fully vaccinated. The SEARHC COVID Hotline is 907-966-8799 (8 A.M. - 5 P.M.). After hours, call the Nurse Advice Line at 1-800-613-0560.
Visit Sitka maintains a list of excellent resources for visitors and travel-related businesses. This information is current as of January 3, 2021:
Sitka COVID Conscious Business Program (CCB)
This program was launched recently and is intended to recognize those businesses and organizations who have taken great efforts to make their establishments accessible during the COVID-19 pandemic. Participation in the program is open to all businesses and organizations in Sitka, and is voluntary.
“Masks Required” free sign available from Sitka Chamber|Visit Sitka
We are happy to supply 8.5”x11” printed & laminated “Masks Required” signs to any business in Sitka. The signs were designed by a local artist and features a friendly bear wearing a mask. To request your sign, send an email with your contact information and the number of signs you need to Laurie Booyse at email@example.com.
Adapted from the CDC Website
Although there is now a vaccine being distributed to immunize people against the novel coronavirus COVID-19, the best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to this virus. The virus is though to spread mainly from person to person.
Here’s what the CDC says about: