NEW ROUND – Sitka Fire Chief Craig Warren chats with Patrick and Catharine Weaver this afternoon at the fire hall during a COVID-19 vaccination clinic. The Weavers were waiting fifteen minutes after receiving the Moderna version of the COVID-19 vaccine. About 100 Sitkans were scheduled to receive their first dose today. Both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines require two doses for full efficacy. Sitkans can sign up to receive vaccinations at (Sentinel Photo by James Poulson)

April 29, 2020, Letters to the Editor

Thank You

Dear Editor: With much-modified procedures the Sitka Homeless Coalition has been able to continue to offer access to shower and laundry services to needy Sitkans. We are grateful to the Sitka Mask Makers group for bringing us cloth masks, Harry Race Pharmacy for providing hand sanitizer and Sitka Food Coop for food donations.

These expressions of concern and support are keeping our hearts warm during this difficult time. 

Dorothy Orbison for 

Sitka Homeless Coalition



Dear Editor: The City and Borough of Sitka is creating a land use master plan for the 830-acre parcel of city land in the No Name Mountain and Granite Creek areas. This is among the last large tracts of relatively undisturbed city land with road access at multiple points. The parcel includes the 17-acre waterfront sub-parcel that is on the west side of Halibut Point Road just past Cove Marina.

Hearing from all is paramount for the final plan to reflect community values and interests. With that in mind, the Planning Department would like to invite you to participate in the planning process and share your views through an interactive website that is now online. 

Please visit The website will be up until May 17.

More information can be found on the Planning Department’s page of the city’s website.

In the meantime, if you have questions or would just like to share ideas about the project, please contact Scott Brylinsky, Special Projects Manager, at 738-8181, or Amy Ainslie, Director of Planning and Community Development, at 747-1815. 

Amy Ainslie, Director, 

Scott Brylinsky, 

Special Projects Manager,

Department of Planning and

 Community Development


COVID in Sitka

Dear Editor: On Sunday when I read the account of Sitka’s first COVID-19 case discovered in what is arguably the most well protected population in our community, my first thought was “That’s surprising, could it be a false positive?” My next thought was “I wonder if the patient is symptomatic?” If a long-term care patient exhibited no symptoms of COVID-19, it would seem even more surprising.

If I understood Monday’s headline article correctly, as it turns out yes, there were no symptoms, and yes, it may have been a false positive. The article seemed to say that there were two tests, one positive and another test that was negative. Thank you for your honest and thorough reporting.

It is certainly appropriate and necessary to treat any positive test finding as a positive. Isolate and take care of the patient and continue to take steps to protect all others from transmission. It is not correct, however, to say that this confirmed case shows the persistence of the virus and the ability for asymptomatic people to spread it; because the evidence (in this one case) seems to suggest that it is rather likely a false positive in the absence of any symptoms in an elderly patient, with no other confirmed cases as yet in this community.

The overall evidence is clear that the virus is indeed easily transmissible by both symptomatic and asymptomatic people, but this case does not seem to demonstrate that fact. In this time of uncertainty and misinformation, we must be extra careful about the conclusions we draw.

Although it remains questionable whether the coronavirus has arrived in Sitka, it is likely inevitable that it will at some point. We live on an island, not in a bubble. Keep washing your hands, wear your masks when necessary, and eat well, sleep well, and exercise to promote immunity. 

COVID-19 clearly demonstrates that it’s not the virus that ultimately determines the course of an illness, it’s the host. Healthier hosts are far less likely to suffer a poor outcome. There’s only one risk factor that we can’t do anything about, and that’s age. All other risk factors are determined to some degree by the actions of the possible host, and that’s us. Take care of yourselves, Sitkans!

Sitka Sentinel, thanks for continuing to keep us informed!

Karen Zamzow, D.C., Sitka



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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 1-15-21)

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 10:55 a.m. Friday.

New cases as of Thursday: 296

Total statewide – 49,835

Total (cumulative) deaths – 228

Total (cumulative) hospitalizations – 1,126

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. Thursday.

Active cases in Sitka – 17

Hospitalizations (cumulative) in Sitka – 5

Cumulative Sitka cases – 301 (274 resident; 27 non-resident)

Cumulative recovered – 281

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




January 2001

Photo caption: Sarah and Jeremy Pickard and Dr. James Brooks show off Lauren Marie Pickard, the first baby born in Sitka this year. She arrived at Mt. Edgecumbe Hospital at 10:05 a.m., Jan. 4, weighing 7 pounds, 8 ounces and measuring 20 inches. She’s the first child for the Pickards,who moved here in May with the U.S. Coast Guard.

January 1971

Mr. and Mrs. Lloyd Foster and daughter Marchele have ended a two-week vacation trip to Idaho. They bought a new Mustang in Seattle, drove it to Sandpoint, Idaho, to visit relatives and stopped in Everett, Wash., to visit Mrs. Foster’s cousin, whom she hadn’t seen in 13 years. Mrs. Foster and Marchele returned by plane and Foster is following with the car, on the ferry.