NO MOORE CLINIC – Contractors from CBC Construction use an excavator to tear down the  Moore Clinic building this morning. The building, which was most recently owned by SEARHC, was built in the mid-1950s by Dr. Phil Moore. Moore was a pioneering orthopedic surgeon who came to Sitka after WWII to open a clinic to treat tuberculosis patients from around the state on Japonski Island using vacated Naval base buildings. He helped develop new treatments for TB which was devastating Native communities. That operation evolved into SEARHC Mt. Edgecumbe Hospital. Moore also helped establish Sitka Community Hospital in the 1950s. The cleared clinic lot will likely be used for building housing by SEARHC. ( Sentinel Photo by James Poulson)

State Jobless Claims Down

By BECKY BOHRER
 
The Associated Press

JUNEAU (AP) — Initial unemployment claims in Alaska are down slightly from a historic high, but they are about 12 times what is typical for this time of year amid the economic fallout from coronavirus concerns, according to a state official and government figures Thursday.

Initial claims for the most recent reporting week totaled 12,007, said Lennon Weller, actuary for the state’s unemployment insurance system. That compares with 14,590 claims the prior week, which the state labor department said far exceeded anything in Alaska’s history.

The new numbers could mean the “biggest wave of initial filings is behind us. Certainly, things can change,” Weller said. 

“Significantly elevated” levels of initial filings are likely throughout April, he said, adding it could be several weeks before there is a peak in the level of continued filings. 

Gov. Mike Dunleavy last week said the labor department was adding 100 people to help process claims, which the administration said should help reduce wait times. 

The state has barred dine-in services at restaurants and bars and ordered the closure of gyms, theaters, bowling alleys and bingo halls in a bid to prevent the spread of the virus. Hair and nail salons also have been closed. 

Major drivers of the state’s economy have been rattled, too. For example, this week’s announcement by two cruise lines that they plan sharp reductions in their sailings to Alaska is expected to be a huge hit to the state’s tourism industry and the many communities that rely upon it.

Bristol Bay Native Corp. announced it is donating $75,000 to food banks and $250,000 to communities in that southwest Alaska region.

Dunleavy has begun outlining plans for reopening parts of the economy while the state continues tracking cases and works to ramp up its testing. As of Thursday morning, the state had reported 300 total cases of COVID-19 and nine deaths so far related to the disease. 

For most people, the new coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia, and death. 

The state announced Wednesday it would begin lifting in phases restrictions on health care activities but included screening and other steps that are to be taken before certain procedures are conducted. Some procedures may require that a patient be tested beforehand.

Dunleavy said he doesn’t take lightly any of the actions the state has taken so far. “I don’t care to be restrictive. I like my freedom. That’s why I live in Alaska,” he said Wednesday. 

He said the goal is to get to as close to normal as possible, as soon as possible — “just have to be very careful that we don’t put the health care consideration last.”

 

 

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 9-25-20)

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 1:10 p.m. Friday.

New cases as of Thursday: 127

Total statewide – 7,254

Total (cumulative) deaths – 51

Active cases in Sitka – 20 (8 resident; 12 non-resident) *

Recovered cases in Sitka – 41 (37 resident; 4 non-resident) *

The state says the cumulative number of cases hospitalized is 277.

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

* These numbers reflect State of Alaska data. Local cases may not immediately appear on DHSS site, or are reported on patient’s town of residence rather than Sitka’s statistics. 

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20 YEARS AGO
September 2000

School Superintendent John Holst, Police Chief Bill McLendon and Magistrate Bruce Horton are among panelist confirmed for a community forum on teen alcohol and drug use and the new random drug testing by police in the schools. Other panelists are to be Tribal Judge Ted Borbridge, Nancy Cavanaugh, R.N.,  Asst. District Atty. Kurt Twitty, Tami Young, Trevor Chapman and School Board member Carolyn Evans.

50 YEARS AGO
September 1970

Mark Spender, son of Dr. and Mrs. Ed Spencer, and David Bickar, son of Mr. and Mrs. Oliver Bickar, are among 14,750 high school seniors honored today be being named semifinalists in the National Merit Scholarship competition.

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