ALL IN THE SAME TACO BOAT – Sitkans, many wearing face masks, line up this afternoon at the Sitka Elks Lodge food booth. With the pandemic, most of this year’s Sitka Independence Day events have been modified, but not entirely canceled. The American Legion and Sizzling Chow Cuisine also will have outdoor food booths. While there’s no downtown parade, there is a parade of classic cars that will tour Sitka streets beginning at 1 p.m. at Whale Park. A sing-along and military salute will take place on Totem Square 7 p.m. Friday and a fireworks display will take place 11:30 Friday night over Sitka Channel, with spectators asked to follow social distancing recommendations. The Rotary Club is holding its annual Duck Race on the fourth. (Sentinel Photo by James Poulson)

New Arrival in Sitka Brings COVID Virus

By SHANNON HAUGLAND
Sentinel Staff Writer

Public Health officials reported a “nonresident positive test” for the COVID-19 virus in Sitka today.

The person with a positive test result is a man aged 50 to 59, said Public Health Nurse Denise Ewing.

As a new arrival to the state, he had gone directly to his quarters for a 14-day self-quarantine.

After he became symptomatic, he was tested Tuesday at the drive-up alternate testing tent outside Mountainside Family Healthcare. Due to his symptoms, he went to Mt. Edgecumbe Medical Center emergency department, Ewing said.

“Once clinically stable, the patient was discharged to continue quarantine,” the Sitka Unified Command said in a news release.

“This is a positive case in Sitka but it’s going to be an out-of-state case,” Ewing said. “Sitka will not show ‘number 3’ for positive cases because it’s out of state.”

Sitka’s other two positive cases, on April 25 and May 25, were asymptomatic.

Ewing said the most recent positive case was a man who came to Sitka for nonseasonal work. Because he followed the self-quarantine requirement for new arrivals, it was easy to track the source to out-of-state, she said.

“We opened travel, so people are going to travel,” Ewing said. “He was fine when he traveled and had no symptoms. It’s during that time people may be carrying the virus and the possibility they’re shedding the virus. That’s why quarantining is so important – as well as washing your hands and distancing. It’s the only things that keep the traveler – and where they’re traveling to – safe.”

Ewing gave the patient top marks for following precautions and doing his “due diligence.”

“Because of his respect and care he has very few contacts,” Ewing said. “He has done everything right: he went directly to quarantine, he had food delivered and hasn’t left his quarantine location. He’s done an amazing job of keeping all the health recommendations, and followed them to a T.”

“When he started to feel symptomatic, he called SEARHC,” Ewing said. “And because of that there’s not a lot of contact. ... He did everything right, and that made my job easier.”

He will continue to quarantine in the same location, and be monitored by Ewing.

State Health Mandate 10 is the requirement for travelers to the state to self-quarantine for 14 days. On Friday, Gov. Dunleavy announced plans to modify Mandate 10, effective June 6, leaving the self-quarantine requirement in effect, but giving some options for avoiding quarantine through testing negative.

The full text of the mandate and changes is available at:

https://covid19.alaska.gov/wp-content/uploads/2020/06/MANDATE-010-REVISED-06.03.20.pdf

The testing alternative will bring new challenges to health officials, Ewing said.

“We will do everything we can to reach out to people within two hours of receiving the information (about test results),” she said. 

Ewing noted the state is currently interviewing candidates to fill 500 public health nurse positions to help with contact tracing. The state is reaching out to retirees, recent graduates and nursing students for help.

A news release from the Sitka Unified Command urged  residents to continue “to remain diligent and practice the health measures we’ve all learned in recent weeks and months: wash your hands often, avoid close contact with others and keep your social circle small, stay home if you feel ill, wear a face covering when around others, and clean and disinfect objects and surfaces on a regular basis.”

If you are concerned you might have contracted the coronavirus contact the COVID hotline at 966-8799 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Outside of normal clinic hours, call the SEARHC 24/7 Nurse Advice Line at 1 (800) 613-0560.

 

 

 

______________________

 

Alaska COVID-19
At a Glance

(updated 7-2-20)

By Sentinel Staff

The state Department of Health and Social Services has posted the following update on the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Alaska as of 11:15 a.m. Wednesday.

New cases as of Monday: 39

Total statewide – 1,017

Total (cumulative) deaths – 14

Active cases in Sitka – 8 (6 resident; 2 non-resident)

Recovered cases in Sitka – 10 (7 resident; 3 non-resident)

The state says the cumulative number of cases hospitalized is 68.

To visit the Alaska DHSS Corona Response dashboard website click here.

______________________

 

Welcome to the Sitka Sentinel's web page. In order to make the Sentinel's news more easily available during the COVID-19 pandemic, we have taken down the paywall to access articles on this page. Just click on an article headline to read the story. 

March 23, 2020

NOTICE FROM THE PUBLISHERS

TO READERS AND ADVERTISERS

For the duration of the COVID-19 disaster emergency declared by federal, state and local authorities, the Sentinel is taking additional measures to reduce virus exposure to its employees and contractors as well as to the public, while continuing to publish a daily news report for Sitka.

To the extent possible, Sentinel news and sales staff will be working from home. For the protection of our carriers, home delivery of the newspaper will be stopped effective Tuesday, March 24.

The Sentinel will continue to publish on its website sitkasentinel.com. Access to the website will be free to all users. The Sentinel will also produce a print edition Monday through Friday. It will be available to all readers without charge, at locations throughout town.

Initially, these locations are those where the Sentinel's newspaper vending machines are already in place. The coin mechanisms will be disabled or the doors removed to permit easy access. The Sentinel will work with the stores where the paper is usually sold, to designate a place inside or outside the store where the free edition can be made available.  

Home delivery subscriptions are on hold, and after the end of the disaster emergency, subscriptions will be extended at no charge for the number of days that there was no home delivery.

The Sentinel will make its print edition available to the public as early in the day as possible. with all personnel taking precautions to prevent spread of the virus.

The Sentinel is calling upon its customers to observe the COVID-19 emergency precautions already in place, particularly in maintaining a six-foot social distance from others at newspaper distribution sites.

Following is the statement issued by the Sentinel on March 16, stating the Sentinel's emergency procedures, which remain in effect.

The Sentinel office at 112 Barracks Street is closed to the public. We encourage people to use the phone, email or the U.S. Postal Service as much as possible.There is a slot in the front door of the office for ads, news items and payment checks. Emails may be sent to  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and the phone number is (907) 747-3219.                                                                          

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