Update: Coronavirus cases rise to 13 in Alaska with one new positive case in Ketchikan

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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTVF) - UPDATE: According to a press release from the City of Ketchikan, there is a third positive test result for COVID-19. Upon experiencing symptoms of illness, the individual self-isolated and sought testing through the PeaceHealth Medical Center Emergency Room. This individual was a close contact of the first identified positive case in Ketchikan. The individual is an employee of the Ketchikan Gateway Borough and works at the White Cliff Building.

On March 17, 2020, following identification of an individual with a positive test result for COVID-19, the White Cliff Building was closed and will remain closed until April 1, 2020. The building has been thoroughly cleaned, sanitized, and disinfected with a commercial disinfectant service. Borough employees in direct contact with the
individual are self-isolating at home for a period of no less than 14 days. Borough employees are telecommuting and working from home.

Ketchikan Public Health officials have contacted this individual and will continue to monitor their condition to ensure continued self-isolation. Public Health officials will initiate a contact investigation and reach out to any person who may have come into contact with this individual. Public Health will notify and isolate additional persons as appropriate. Through the contact investigation, Public Health will direct testing of persons that meet criteria based on contact with any confirmed case of COVID-19. Individuals who meet the criteria are being tested in accordance with CDC and State of Alaska priorities.

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ORIGINAL STORY:

It was announced in a press conference on Thursday that there are three new cases of COVID-19, bringing the statewide total to 12. Two new cases from Fairbanks and one additional case in Ketchikan. There is concern at this point that the two newest cases in Fairbanks do not have a history of traveling outside the state of Alaska in the last two weeks. The state is currently investigating this at a further depth and will update once more information is found.

Governor Dunleavy went on to discuss his plans to work with the Alaska Legislature and the US Government to stabilize the Alaskan economy and support workers and businesses that have been effected by this outbreak. This includes a bill that is being sent to the Alaska Senate right now outlining support for laid off workers through unemployment processes.

Dr. Anne Zink discussed the cases at a further depth and once again encouraged the population of Alaska to follow the health mandates as well as safety guidelines from the CDC.

A previously suggested action to cancel all elective surgeries has become a health mandate statewide with all non-vital surgeries being canceled in an effort to conserve hospital supplies and keep beds open.

As always it is important to follow the guidelines set for travelers returning from out of state as well as everyday health procedures outlined by the CDC.

If you are at Medium Risk please take these precautions for travelers returning within 14 days from outside of Alaska (including the rest of the United States) you should:

- Discuss your work situation with your employer before returning to work.

- Minimize contact with people as much as possible, self-monitor and practice social distancing.

- This may mean not going to work or school if you cannot safely be distanced from others – especially if you traveled in a location where community transmission is occurring.

By taking these precautions as well as following previous guidance including regular hand washing, cleaning surfaces and avoiding large gatherings we can hopefully keep ourselves and each other safe and healthy.

This is a developing story. We will keep you updated as more information becomes available about possible transmission points in the community and the potential for more cases.

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