GRAB AND GO - Library patron Tina Johnson, left, and Joanna Perensovich, information services librarian, wear masks in the Sitka Library this afternoon. The library no longer has couches for patrons, but does have computer desks widely spaced apart for people to access for one-hour periods. (Sentinel Photo by James Poulson)

Returning Sitkan Told He’s Positive for Virus

By Sentinel Staff

Sitka received a new positive COVID-19 test result Wednesday, Public Health officials said today.

That brings Sitka’s cumulative positive test count to 12 – nine resident cases and three nonresident cases.

Unified Command lists nine cases as “recovered.”

The State of Alaska is reporting 792 cumulative cases statewide.

A news release from Sitka’s Unified Command said the latest confirmed case is a Sitka man, age 40-49, who received COVID-19 testing out of state on June 20, 72 hours prior to flying to Sitka. He is asymptomatic and recovering in Sitka, the Public Health Nurse Denise Ewing said.

Public Health officials have initiated contact investigations and will notify and isolate additional people who may have been in contact with these individuals, as appropriate.

Unified Command issued reminders about following precautions.

“If you are sick with the (coronavirus), a Public Health official will call you to check on your health, discuss who you’ve been in contact with and ask you to stay at home to self-isolate for 14 days,” the officials said.

This information is collected for health purposes only and won’t be shared with any other agencies, such as  law enforcement or immigration.

“Your name will not be revealed to those you came in contact with, unless you give permission,” the press release said. “If you have been in close contact with someone with COVID-19, a Public Health Official will call you to inform you that you’ve been exposed and ask you to stay at home and self-quarantine.

“Staying at home helps keep you, your family, and your community safe. Do your part to keep your family and your community safe from COVID-19.”

Sitka Unified Command is urging citizens to adhere to all state mandates and to remain diligent and practice the health measures listed in recent weeks and months: wash hands often, avoid close contact with others and keep social circles small, stay home if feeling ill, wear a face covering when around others, and clean and disinfect objects and surfaces on a regular basis.

COVID-19 symptoms are similar to the flu – fever, aching, cough, sore throat, shortness of breath, and sometimes decreased sense of taste and smell.

“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.,” the officials advised.

Outside of normal clinic hours, patients can contact the SEARHC 24/7 Nurse Advice Line at (800) 613–0560 to be triaged by a registered nurse.

Additional information on COVID-19 is available through the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services (DHSS) at and SEARHC at

“If you are not sick, please continue to take precautionary measures to stay healthy,” the officials advised.

– Get your flu shot. The flu shot will not prevent COVID-19 but will help prevent getting sick and reduce the workload on the healthcare system.

– Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.

– Avoid close contact with people who are sick, put distance between yourself and other people outside of your home, do not gather in groups and minimize your actions with others, stay out of crowded places and avoid mass gatherings, and keep your social circle small.

– Stay home if you feel ill, and always cover coughs and sneezes.

– Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces daily (e.g. phones, tables, countertops, light switches, doorknobs, and cabinet handles).

– Wear a face covering, in particular in public settings. For more information on cloth face coverings visit

Residents are encouraged to prepare for any local emergency by ensuring each family member has a 14- day emergency supply kit, including any necessary medications.


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Alaska COVID-19
At a Glance

(updated 7-10-20)

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 noon Friday.

New cases as of Thursday: 51

Total statewide – 1,323

Total (cumulative) deaths – 17

Active cases in Sitka – 5 (2 resident; 3 non-resident) *

Recovered cases in Sitka – 13 (11 resident; 2 non-resident) *

The state says the cumulative number of cases hospitalized is 80.

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. 




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.                                                                          

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