KETCHIKAN (KDN) — After a weekend of no new COVID-19 cases in Ketchikan, one new case was recorded locally on Monday, according to a 5 p.m. announcement from the Ketchikan Emergency Operations Center.
“This individual sought testing at a local clinic due to symptoms of the virus, is a close contact to a known positive case, and had been under quarantine,” the press release noted.
Cumulatively, Ketchikan has tallied 189 cases since the beginning of the pandemic this spring. Nineteen of those cases were counted during the past seven days, according to the EOC. Thirty cases remained active as of Monday evening.
A total of 23,544 COVID-19 tests have been collected in Ketchikan.
All tests administered at the Berth 3 drive-up clinic through Saturday have been processed, according to the EOC. The release noted that due to the number of tests being conducted at that site, only individuals who test positive will be notified of their result via phone. Individuals who were tested before or on Saturday and had not yet been contacted tested negative, according to the EOC.
Thirteen test results were pending in Ketchikan on Monday evening.
The local positivity rate was 3.38% as of Monday evening. The local risk level remains at Risk Level 3 (High), where it has been since Nov. 4.
Disaster declaration information
Gov. Mike Dunleavy’s new 30-day statewide disaster declaration went into effect at 12:01 a.m. on Monday, allowing the governor to retain some of the changes to state regulations that went into effect in March through Senate Bill 241.
The state’s first disaster declaration was issued on March 11, and was followed by several health and travel mandates. On Nov. 6, Dunleavy announced in a press conference that he intended to renew the declaration, but in a more “controlled” manner.
The renewed disaster declaration, which will be in effect until Dec. 15, came with several new “Outbreak Health Orders.”
In a media briefing on Monday afternoon, acting Attorney General Ed Sniffen said that “there’s really no magic to that terminology.”
“They’re health orders because they affect the health and safety,” Sniffen said, explaining that DHSS officials hoped that the term also eliminated any confusion as to what the orders meant.
Eight Outbreak Health Orders took effect on Monday. Most of the new orders stemmed from the regulations already imposed from SB 241.
Outbreak Health Order 1 suspends certain statutes for how organizations conduct business, and is “intended to help agencies and folks do things in response to the disaster in a more flexible and efficient way,” according to Sniffen. Most of the regulations in this order carry over from those in place from SB 241, Sniffen explained.
Outbreak Health Order 2 allows health care officials to conduct telehealth services and makes changes to the background check and licensing procedure, and Outbreak Health Order 3 allows organizations and nonprofits to conduct business virtually.
Sniffen explained that these orders are “aimed at really allowing at the kind of separation and virtual business that our state really needs going forward.”
Outbreak Health Order 4 provides reimbursement for individuals needing help to quarantine in a non-congregate setting.
Outbreak Health Order 5 deals with critical infrastructure workers, with an emphasis on the commercial fishing industry. The information compiled in this order is similar to the information from Health Mandate 17, which Dunleavy imposed this summer as guidance for commercial fishermen.
Outbreak Health Order 6 providers guidance for international and interstate travelers. The order states that all travelers (except for children aged 10 and younger) will need to submit proof of a negative COVID-19 test taken within 72 hours of departure, or proof of pending results, upon arrival in Alaska.
Nonresidents and residents who arrive in Alaska without proof of a test or negative results from a test taken within 72 hours of departure can get a test upon arrival. These tests are free to residents, but nonresidents will have to pay $250.
Resident travelers who were outside the state for 72 hours will not be required to submit proof of a test, due to changes imposed in October updates to Health Mandate 10. However, the traveler should self-monitor for COVID-19 symptoms for 14 days.
The charitable online sale of raffle tickets or lottery tickets was permitted under Outbreak Health Order 7.
New changes also were made for intrastate travelers under Outbreak Health Order 8.
A negative COVID-19 test is required for individuals traveling from communities “on the road system” or the Alaska Marine Highway and Inter-Island Ferry Authority systems to communities not connected to those systems. The health order defines the a community “on the road system” as being connected to the Seward, Parks, Klondike, Richardson, Sterling, Glenn, Haines or Top of the World Highways.
“We’re saying if you’re going to leave the road system and go out to a local community, you get tested,” Sniffen said.
A negative test is required unless an individual is traveling for less than 72 hours. In that case, travelers are “recommended” to test for COVID-19 and follow “strict social distancing” until receiving results, according to the order.
In cases where the traveler will be in a community not connected to the road system for more than 72 hours, the individual should take a test prior to travel. A second test five days after arrival at the traveler’s destination is recommended, but not required.
In the Monday media briefing, DHSS Commissioner Adam Crum said that “as we move ahead with these health orders, the goal is to make sure Alaskans know what’s going on.”
Statewide case information
For more than two months, Alaska has seen daily COVID-19 counts stay in the triple-digit range, with two new records set over the weekend.
On Saturday, the state recorded an all-time high of 745 cases. That number was followed by a new record for the second-highest number of daily cases (654) on Sunday, according to the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services.
All regions of the state – including the entire Southeast Alaska region – remained at a high alert level on Sunday.
As of midnight Sunday, DHSS reported the following COVID-19 statistics:
• New cases on Sunday: 563 (556 resident cases and seven nonresident cases).
• Areas to record 10 or more resident cases on Sunday: Anchorage (351); Bethel (39); Eagle River (35); Wasilla (21); Fairbanks (15); Soldotna (12); and the Bethel Census Area (11).
• Nonresident case locations: Anchorage (two); Homer (one); unidentified region (four).
• Cumulative cases: 24,399 (23,240 resident and 1,159 nonresident cases).
• Active resident cases: 16,626.
• Active nonresident cases: 510.
• Total hospitalizations: 559.
• Current hospitalizations: 143 (121 of those hospitalizations involved COVID-19 positive patients. Twenty-two involved people still under investigation for COVID-19).
• New deaths: 0.
• Total number of deaths: 98.
• Statewide tests conducted: 872,347 tests.
• Statewide risk level: High. Alaska’s average daily case rate (the average number of new cases identified per 100,000 individuals during a 14-day period) was 70.1 on Sunday, an increase from Saturday’s rate of 68.03.
• Statewide positivity rate: 8.31%, a slight decrease from Saturday’s positivity rate of 8.35%.