CHECKING THE SLOPES – Ski companions Aaron Prussian, Emily Clark and Will Sirokman measure the snow depth and conditions on Mt. Verstovia Saturday. The friends have been tracking conditions this season, looking for weaknesses in the snowpack that could lead to avalanches. They saw signs of stable conditions, some hardpack and compacted layers, but no signs of weakness in that specific area. Dozens of skiers were on the mountain this weekend. (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.

 

 

 

August 5, 2020

A Note To Our Readers

Reopening: Phase One:

 

On March 30 the Daily Sitka Sentinel began taking precautions against the coronavirus, which was starting to show up in Alaska.

We closed our building to the public and four key employees started working remotely. Home delivery was suspended to protect our carriers from exposure to the virus.

Four months later, the virus is still with us and the precautions remain in effect.

In appreciation for the willingness of our subscribers to pick up their daily paper at drop-off sites, the Sentinel was free to all readers, and subscriptions were extended without charge.

As of August 1 the Sentinel is once again charging for subscriptions, but the present method of having subscribers pick up their papers at designated sites will continue.

The expiration date of all subscriptions has been extended without charge for an additional four months.

We thank our readers for their support in these uncertain times, and especially those who paid for the paper despite the free offer.

We look forward to the time when we can safely resume home delivery.

To check on the expiration of your subscription or to make a payment please call 747-3219. The subscription email address is This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. . We also will be mailing out reminder cards.

The single copy price is again 75 cents. The news racks do not require coins to open, but we ask that the 75 cents for a non-subscription single copy sale be paid with coins in the slot.

– The Sitka Sentinel Staff

 

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Alaska COVID-19 
At a Glance

(updated 1-26-21)

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 12:20 p.m. Tuesday.

New cases as of Monday: 86

Total statewide – 51,778

Total (cumulative) deaths – 258

Total (cumulative) hospitalizations – 1,170

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

The City of Sitka posted the following update on COVID-19 cases in Sitka as of 5 p.m. Monday.

Active cases in Sitka – 1

Hospitalizations (cumulative) in Sitka – 5

Cumulative Sitka cases – 309 (277 resident; 32 non-resident)

Cumulative recovered – 308

The local case data are from the City of Sitka website.

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20 YEARS AGO
January 2001

Rory Schneeberger of Sitka has been tapped to serve as state Rep. Peggy Wilson’s chief of staff, the District 2 representative announced today. Wilson, of Wrangell, was elected in November to represent Sitka, Wrangell and Ketchikan in the state House.

50 YEARS AGO
January 1971

Eleven Sheldon Jackson students will visit churches in the northern half of Southeast Alaska as part of a four-week interim study course called Contemporary Alaska Mission. Their instructor, Rev. William Zeiger, who is college chaplain, has arranged the course.

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