State of Alaska
Health alerts are advisories issued by Department of Health and Social Services leadership.
Health alerts should be followed.
Health alerts are advisories issued by Department of Health and Social Services leadership.
Health alerts should be followed.
Issued: April 7, 2020
By: Commissioner Adam Crum, Alaska Department of Health and Social Services
Dr. Anne Zink, Chief Medical Officer, State of Alaska
Health Alert 011 – Safety Guidelines for Religious Services
COVID-19 Health Mandate 11: Social Distancing, Item I.5 prohibits private and public gatherings of non-household members, regardless of the number of people involved. This includes, but is not limited to, weddings, faith gatherings, graduations, and funeral events. https://gov.alaska.gov/wp-content/uploads/sites/2/03272020-SOA-COVID-19-Health-Mandate-011.pdf
However, the following practices will be allowed for places of worship, including churches, synagogues, mosques, temples and other similar religious facilities of any faith:
This is not a mandate. State of Alaska COVID-10 Health Alert #011
Issued: April 3, 2020
Health Alert 010 – Recommendations Regarding the Use of Cloth Face Coverings
Scientific evidence available to date indicates that asymptomatic and presymptomatic shedding of the virus that causes COVID-19 is occurring. This means that people who have no symptoms whatsoever may be infected with the virus and capable of transmitting the virus to others when interacting in close proximity—for example, speaking, coughing, or sneezing. This heightens the need for community-wide implementation of control measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19 among people who are not experiencing symptoms of illness.
The primary ways to do this are through social distancing, frequent hand-washing, and disinfecting high-touch surfaces. Another tool that may help to minimize transmission while people are around others outside of their household is the use of face coverings. Because we are experiencing a nationwide shortage of medical supplies, including facemasks, we recommend that Alaskans make their own face coverings and wear them in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain (e.g., grocery stores and pharmacies) — especially in areas of significant community-based transmission. This recommendation aligns with current national guidance: www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prevent-getting-sick/cloth-face-cover.html
The following measures are highly recommended for all Alaskans:
What is a cloth face covering? A cloth face covering is a material that covers the nose and mouth. It can be secured to the head with ties or straps or simply wrapped around the lower face. It can be made of a variety of materials, such as cotton, silk, or linen. A cloth face covering may be factory-made or sewn by hand, or can be improvised from household items such as scarfs, T-shirts, sweatshirts, or towels.
How do I make a homemade face coverings? Cloth face coverings can be fashioned from household items or made at home from common materials at low cost. There are a number of instructional websites and videos that people can refer to for making face coverings; two such videos are available at https://youtu.be/VgHrnS6n4iA and https://youtu.be/1r2C1zGUHbU
How well do cloth face coverings work to prevent spread of COVID-19? There is limited evidence available on how well cloth face coverings help reduce COVID-19 transmission. Their primary role is to reduce the release of respiratory droplets into the air when someone speaks, coughs, or sneezes, including people who have COVID-19 but have no symptoms. Cloth face coverings are not a substitute for physical distancing and washing hands and staying home when ill, but they may be helpful when combined with these primary interventions.
How should I care for a cloth face covering? Wash your cloth face covering frequently, ideally after each use, or at least daily. Have a bag or bin to keep cloth face coverings in until they can be laundered with detergent and hot water and dried on a hot cycle. If you must re-wear your cloth face covering before washing, wash your hands immediately after putting it back on and avoid touching your face. Discard cloth face coverings that:
This is not a mandate. State of Alaska COVID-10 Health Alert #010
Issued: March 20, 2020
By: Dr. Anne Zink, Chief Medical Officer, State of AlaskaCommissioner Adam Crum, Alaska Department of Health and Social Services
The State of Alaska and the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services (DHSS) acknowledge the importance of suspending all non-essential travel across the Alaska border as well as minimizing intrastate travel to avoid introducing new COVID-19 cases into Alaska from out of state, and slow the spread of the virus in state. Greater than 80% of proven COVID-19 cases have come from out of state, primarily from the lower 48. It is imperative that Alaskans heed these guidelines.
Health Alert 9.1 – Out of State TravelTo prevent the spread of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19), the State of Alaska is issuing the following strong advisory:
That all Alaskans cease non-essential out of state personal, business, and medical travel now. Alaskans currently out of state are encouraged to return home now if they had plans to return to Alaska within the next 30 days.
We strongly advise that any tourist and non-essential business travel to Alaska be suspended now. We strongly recommend that visitors to Alaska return to their home communities now.
Airlines operating interstate travel are mandated to immediately post this recommendation to their customers on their webpages and at the airports in a place that is easily seen.
Airports in Alaska are mandated to prominently post all travel recommendations.
Tour operators should immediately suspend reservations for any out of state visitors.
Businesses that depend on interstate travel should immediately assess their travel needs and only move essential personnel or travel for emergency reasons. Any travelling employee is expected to self-isolate for 14 days after arrival in Alaska.
All travelers returning from a Level 3 area are mandated to self-quarantine for 14 days as previously outlined in COVID-19 Health Mandate 004.
Any returning resident or worker is expected to self-quarantine for 14 days after returning to Alaska and monitor for illness. If you cannot work from home, you should not return to work until this period has passed, unless your work supports critical infrastructure (see Attachment A). If your work is a part of critical infrastructure, it is the expectation that every attempt will be made to comply with the 14-day quarantine or that appropriate steps are taken to protect workers, the public and spread of COVID-19.
Any visitor to Alaska is expected to self-isolate for 14 days after arriving in Alaska, monitor for illness, and follow appropriate social distancing protocols while in Alaska.
Health Alert 9.2 – In-State Alaska TravelTo prevent the spread of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19), the State of Alaska is issuing the following strong advisory:
That all Alaskans cease any non-essential in-state long distance personal, business, or medical travel, with specific heightened concern for travel to remote areas with limited medical resources.
We strongly recommend that non-residents cease any non-essential personal, business, or medical long-distance travel within Alaska with specific heightened concern for travel to remote areas with limited medical resources.
All air, road and maritime services operating in Alaska are mandated to post on the web and in their terminals, these travel recommendations.
All airports, ports, and bus terminals are mandated to prominently post these travel recommendations.
Any tour operator depending on clients moving long distances across Alaska should strongly consider suspending operations.
We expect any traveler who leaves a community with known cases of COVID-19 to self-isolate for 14 days upon arrival to their destination community and monitor for symptoms of illness. Following that period, appropriate social distancing should be followed.
The sacrifice of all Alaskans during this public health emergency is notable. While social distancing is one arm of slowing the spread of COVID-19, minimizing travel is an equally important part of slowing the spread of disease. We are aware of the impact these health advisories have, specifically on our travel industry, already hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic. The state is committed to continue to work with businesses and employees impacted by the pandemic and will continue to work to mitigate these impacts. The safety and health of all Alaskans is our primary concern.
This health advisory does not apply to medical, personal, or business emergencies.
This is not a mandate.
State of Alaska COVID-19 Health Alert 009
Issued: March 17, 2020By: Dr. Anne Zink, Chief Medical Officer, State of AlaskaCommissioner Adam Crum, Alaska Department of Health and Social Services
The Alaska Department of Health and Social Services is committed to the health and well-being of Alaskans.Child care is a critical support for working families, their children and businesses. At this time, per guidancefrom the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), we are recommending that child care facilities stayopen if they safely can do so. We do not want children to be cared for by elders, because people aged greaterthan 60 years are at increased risk for severe COVID-19 illness. Employers are encouraged to talk to theirworkforce. We also know that children, while they may carry the disease, get sick from COVID-19 much lessfrequently than adults.
Until further notice, we recommend that every child care site adhere to the following recommendations:
Families should consider alternative child care opportunities, if possible.CDC guidance: www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/schools-childcare/guidance-for-schools.html
This is not a mandate.State of Alaska COVID-19 Health Alert 008
Department of Health and Social Services (DHSS) is suspending statewide, all long-term services and supportsthat occur in congregate settings, including senior centers, adult day services, and any site-based dayhabilitation or supported employment activities where individuals gather together. DHSS is working withfederal partners to determine if services may be offered in a more flexible manner within home settings.
The state recognizes the importance of these settings and the services they provide, but is seeking to preventharm to those we serve through the promotion of social distancing. Please continue to follow guidance postedon the State of Alaska COVID-19 website at coronavirus.alaska.gov. More guidance will be distributed throughthe Division of Senior and Disabilities Services’ (SDS) email subscriber list for providers and families as updatesto service categories can be provided. If you are not yet a member of SDS E-Alerts, please sign up here:http://list.state.ak.us/mailman/listinfo/sds-e-news.
This is not a mandate.State of Alaska COVID-19 Health Alert 007
Issued March 16, 2020By: Dr. Anne Zink, Chief Medical Officer, State of Alaska
DHSS strongly advises that all Alaskans follow this guidance from U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams and theAmerican College of Surgeons: www.facs.org/about-acs/covid-19/information-for-surgeons. In light of thisadvice, all patients, providers, hospitals and surgical centers are requested to consider minimizing, postponingor canceling all non-urgent or elective procedures for three months to decrease the overall impact on theAlaska health care structure.
Given Alaska’s distances and limited health care capacity, it is especially important to open acute health carebeds for anticipated COVID-19 care. The State of Alaska believes that by delaying non emergent procedures,individuals will receive optimal care.
This is not a mandate.State of Alaska COVID-19 Health Alert 006
Issued March 15, 2020
By: Dr. Anne Zink, Chief Medical Officer, State of Alaska
DHSS strongly advises that all Alaskans read and comply with the following guidance for returning travelers:
Higher Risk: For travelers returning within 14 days from the time you left an area with widespread, ongoing community spread such as Europe, China and other countries (i.e., a CDC Level 3 Travel Health Notice Area) you should:
Medium Risk: For travelers returning within 14 days from outside of Alaska (including the rest of the United States) you should:
Health Guidance for Returning Travelers in the Higher and Medium Risk Groups
All Alaskans should follow previous guidance including regular hand washing, cleaning surfaces and avoiding large gatherings (March 13 COVID-19 Health Alert: Recommendations for Keeping Communities Safe).
This is not a mandate. This guidance is based on CDC’s guidance, which can be found here:www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/State of Alaska COVID-19 Health Alert 005
Issued March 13, 2020
DHSS strongly advises that all Alaskans read and comply with the following CDC guidance for workplaces, schools, homes, and commercial establishments:
Practice good hygiene:
Be careful with meetings and events:
Special travel considerations:
Handle food carefully:
Special consideration for businesses:
For transportation businesses, taxis, and ride shares:
If you don’t feel well:
Households with sick family members are recommended to:
Households with vulnerable seniors or those with significant underlying conditions:
Significant underlying conditions include heart, lung, kidney disease; diabetes; and conditions that suppress the immune system.
These recommendations are based on the CDC’s guidance, which can be found here: www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/specific-groups/high-risk-complications.html
This is not a mandate.
Under the authority of Governor Dunleavy’s emergency order, the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services (DHSS) is issuing a policy to limit exposure to COVID-19 at long-term care facilities. DHSS is taking this action to protect Alaskans who are at greatest risk for the most severe outcomes of this disease.
“Our elders in nursing homes are particularly vulnerable to this disease and our actions are intended to protect vulnerable adults.” said Dr. Anne Zink, Alaska’s Chief Medical Officer. “Our desire is to establish a close partnership with long-term care facilities and we’re asking families, friends and others who work in and visit these facilities to help us protect the health and safety of our parents, grandparents and other loved ones.”
This guidance directs skilled nursing facilities and nursing homes – including those providing memory care – to incorporate the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)’s minimal to moderate mitigation strategies for long-term care facilities with additional measures, as follows:
Issued March 12, 2020
In order to prevent or slow the spread of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19), the State of Alaska is recommending all Alaskans become familiar with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) guidance on community mitigation. We are advising Alaskans to implement protective measures outlined in the “preparedness phase” and to strongly consider implementing the “minimal to moderate” activities (see page 3). Examples of social distancing strategies that should be followed now include:
For the General Public
For High-Risk Groups
For Businesses and Employers
Considerations for Event Planners
For Religions and Faith-based Organizations
Guidance on community mitigation: www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/downloads/community-mitigation-strategy.pdf
Issued March 11, 2020
To reduce the possibility for spreading Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19), the State of Alaska issues the following advisory related to the ASAA regional/conference basketball tournaments being held March 10-14:
People who have any of the following criteria should avoid attending the regional tournaments:
We encourage people who are unable to attend in-person to watch webcasting, where available.
The state tournament that was to be held in Anchorage will be postponed until further notice.
Conference tournaments being held after March 14 are postponed.
Office of Governor Mike Dunleavy
Department of Health and Social Services
Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management