PHONING IT IN – Lisa Langenfeld, court reporter, is pictured alone inside the Sitka Courthouse Tuesday as judge lawyers and others speak remotely over the audio system. A sign posted on the door says,  "Effective Immediately TELEPHONIC PARTICIPATION ONLY FOR ALL HEARINGS. (Sentinel Photo by James Poulson)

From the Editor:

The Daily Sitka Sentinel ventured into unknown territory Tuesday, with the first edition since the founding of the paper in 1939 to be published in virtual lockdown conditions.

It was also the first day that copies of the entire edition of the Sentinel were available without charge to all Sitkans, a policy that the Sentinel plans to continue as long as the COVID-19 disaster emergency is in effect. The Sentinel took this step to keep the newspaper available to the community while eliminating the day-to-day delivery and office procedures that involve the most personal contact between employees and the public.

Since Tuesday, Sentinel reporters have been working remotely, and as many other editorial operations as possible are being done off-site, including page makeup and posting to the Sentinel’s website.

The Sentinel’s Barracks Street office and printing plant are still the hub of the newspaper’s daily operations. Outside contact is by phone and email. The office is closed to the public, and the few key employees on site are following social distance protocols, and disinfecting surfaces they touch. Those handling the papers after they come off the press are using disposable gloves.

Distribution sites for the paper are those that have been used for single paper sales. Sea Mart, Market Center and AC Lakeside Grocery are the principal ones. Other locations are ones where the Sentinel has had coin-operated racks, including the front of the Sentinel office. The number of papers needed at all sites will be determined by the experience of the first several days of distribution.

The Sentinel is mindful of the hardship that discontinuation of home delivery is causing readers who are unable to leave their homes, and asks those who are able to check with a neighbor who might appreciate it if you would pick up two papers and drop one off for them.

With Sitka, like the rest of Alaska, facing a public health crisis whose extent is not yet known, the Sentinel plans to continue its mission of reporting the news to Sitkans while taking measures to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 virus.

Thad Poulson



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Alaska COVID-19
At a Glance

(updated 4-1-20)

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 3 p.m. Wednesday. 

The list includes the total cases (and what portions are travel and non-travel-related or still being investigated):

 Total - 143 (40, 103)

 Anchorage area – 67 (24, 43)

 Homer – 2 (1, 1)

 Kenai – 1 (1, 0)

 Seward – 1 (1, 0)

 Soldotna – 2 (1, 1)

 Sterling – 2 (0, 2)

 Fairbanks area – 40 (7, 33)

 Mat-Su – 4 (2, 2)

 Juneau – 10 (1, 9)

 Ketchikan – 14 (2, 12)

The state says the cumulative number of cases hospitalized is nine, and the cumulative number of deaths is three.



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



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 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.