April 29, 2020, Letters to the Editor

Category: Letters to the Editor
Created on Wednesday, 29 April 2020 15:58
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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 nonamemountainproject.com. 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