COVID-19 Case Counts (Last update 01/19/21 at 11:57 AM)
Alaska's COVID vaccine rollout of Pfizer and Moderna vaccines began in December, 2020, for health care workers, first responders, and the elderly (Phase 1a). Read more about the Pfizer vaccine and Moderna vaccine.
Vaccine groups eligible as of January 14, 2021:
Phase 1a (all tiers, mainly healthcare workers and elderly) - open
Phase 1b, Tier 1 (persons 65 and over) - Scheduling open. Vaccinations began January 11.
Visit the Alaska DHSS vaccine status page to learn if you are eligible for a vaccine NOW.
- The Southeast Alaska Regional Health Consortium (SEARHC) has begun a community vaccination program in Sitka. 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. You can also call the SEARHC COVID Hotline at 907-966-8799.
- As a tribal health organization, SEARHC is distributing vaccine under guidelines established by the Indian Health Service (IHS), that may differ from the State of Alaska.
- Harry Race and White's Pharmacies are also administering vaccine in Sitka, under state guidelines. You can learn more about their plans here. If you believe you are eligible for a vaccine under state criteria, you can 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 directly, or call 907-966-2101.
- Eventually the vaccine will be widely available.
There are a lot of questions about Interstate Travel and Testing in Alaska. Here are some answers.
Anyone arriving in Alaska by any means of transportation must fill out a travel declaration form and self-isolation plan in the Alaska Travel Portal. In addition, travelers must choose one of the following options:
- Show proof of a negative results from a molecular-based COVID-19 test taken within 72 hours of departure.
- Show proof of a molecular-based test taken within 72 hours of departure, follow strict social distancing until results arrive and then upload those results to the Alaska Travel Portal. If the result comes back positive, travelers must remain in self-isolation at their own expense until cleared by a public health worker.
- Arrive without taking a test, and take a test at the airport. The test is free to Alaska residents, and non-residents must pay $250. Travelers are required to follow strict social distancing until their results arrive.
- For Alaska residents only: Quarantine for 14 days upon arrival. For trips outside of the state that last less than three days, no test or quarantine is required, but travelers should self-monitor for symptoms for two weeks after returning to Alaska.
All travelers must follow strict social distancing for five days after arrival or until they leave Alaska, whichever comes first. That means travelers can go outside and arrange curbside shopping and food delivery as long as they wear a mask and maintain six foot social distancing with anyone not in their household. They're not allowed to enter buildings open to the public like restaurants and gyms or attend large gatherings.
The state encourages travelers to take another test 5 to 14 days after arrival, but a second test is not required. People who've tested positive for COVID-19 won't be able to travel to Alaska until they've been released from isolation and cleared by a medical or public health professional.
There are some exceptions to Health Order 6. The testing requirements don't apply to children under 10, for example. There are special rules for workers traveling for critical infrastructure. And travelers who've tested positive for COVID-19 within 90 days of departure don't need to provide a test result if all three of the following are true:
- They provide proof of the positive test result
- They're asymptomatic
- They provide documentation that they were released from isolation by a medical or public health professional.
To provide proof of Alaska residency at the airport, travelers need one of the following:
- An Alaska driver's license or state-issued ID
- A federally recognized Alaska Tribal ID
- An active duty military or dependent ID
- An employment or school verification letter on official letterhead
On Tuesday, May 12, Gov. Mike Dunleavy issued Health Mandate 18, allowing travel to resume between communities on the state's road system -- including communities accessibly by the Marine Highway.
The latest health order governing travel between communities off the road or marine highway systems was released on Nov. 16 and some of the requirements went into effect on Nov. 21.
Anyone traveling from a community on the road or Alaska Marine Highway system to a community off the road system or ferry route must take a molecular COVID-19 test within 72 hours of departure. Travelers must follow strict social distancing or delay travel until they receive a negative result. They can also forgo testing and follow strict social distancing for two weeks after arriving in the community.
Following strict social distancing means people can go outside and arrange curbside shopping or food delivery as long as they wear a mask and maintain six-foot distancing from anyone not in their household. Attending group gatherings or going inside buildings open to the public like restaurants and gyms is prohibited.
There are special recommendations and rules for travelers who will remain in the community for 72 hours or less. People who've tested positive for COVID-19 cannot travel until they're cleared by a medical professional. Anyone who has tested positive in the past 90 days, doesn't have symptoms and has recovered doesn't have to follow testing requirements.
Communities off the road and ferry systems may enact local restrictions as long as they don't restrict travel for critical personal needs or as part of critical infrastructure or essential services. Communities also can't bar residents from returning home, but they can require testing or quarantining.
Traveling to Yakutat?
Yakutat passed their own testing requirements for travel into the City and Borough of Yakutat on Dec. 3. Read the full resolution here.
If you think you have been exposed to COVID-19 and develop a fever and symptoms, such as cough or difficulty breathing. 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.
On Friday, April 3, the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services issued Health Alert 10 advising Alaskans to wear face coverings in public places -- especially in areas of significant community-based transmission. This is not a mandate. Read the full text of Health Alert 10.
Some KCAW listening communities do require masks. In Tenakee Springs, masks must be worn in all buildings open to the public and on the main trail when social distancing can't be maintained. Angoon also requires masks in public buildings, churches and businesses as well as public outdoor spaces where social distancing can't be maintained.
Following on the heels of advice issued by the state on April 3, the Sitka Unified Command on April 17, 2020, recommended that all Sitkans wear cloth face coverings in public settings. This is because 1) COVID-19 is transmitted in respiratory droplets, and 2) You may not know if you've got it (i.e. you can be "asymptomatic"). Cloth face coverings protect others from an infection that you may not know you have. Masks are available at the customer service counter at Lakeside Grocery store, at True Value Hardware, Harry Race and White's Pharmacies, and other retail locations in Sitka.
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.
Travel Mandates Stay in Place
Current Alaska state Health Order 8 Intrastate Travel and Health Order 6 International and Interstate Travel will remain in place with as the COVID-19 vaccines are administered across the state. For updated information about the vaccine in Alaska click here.
Landslide Resilience Survey Needs Your Participation
If you are able, please take a few minutes to participate in making our community more resilient to landslides, and possibly even win a Sea Mart or AC Lakeside gift card! Visit the Sitka Science Center program webpage for more information about the program.
New Infographic on Arriving in AK By Air
The DHSS and Department of Transportation and Public Facilities have released a new infographic to help understand the travel health orders called Entering Alaska by Air.
“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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
NATIONAL & INDUSTRY INFORMATION
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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: