New Anti-covid measures
More than 22,014 Covid infections and 98 deaths have been registered in Alaska, as of November 15th. The day before, the number of new cases has exceeded the highest number of infections in one day. Of the 745 recorded new cases, 433 are in Anchorage.
The coronavirus is striking more fiercely than it has in several weeks. The Department of Health and Human Services has alerted Governor Mike Dunleavy of the danger of a hospital collapse.
The worst is yet to come
The imminent arrival of winter and the intensification of the cold makes one fear the worst. Dunleavy has asked the population to take the virus “very seriously” and to strictly follow the instructions of health officials. The Governor extended the state’s declaration of emergency disaster, after public health officials expressed concern that the declaration expired on Sunday, 15.
There is little point in Alaska having one of the lowest death rates in the United States so far, if the rate of contagion continues to accelerate as it has in recent weeks. The disease transmission rate is considered high when it exceeds 5%. Currently it has almost reached 9% (8.9%) statewide and is at 14% in Anchorage.
Quinn-Davison Takes Tougher Action
Anchorage’s acting mayor, Austin Quinn-Davidson, has announced tougher measures to prevent contagion. Exemptions from wearing masks are eliminated and the number allowed at gatherings without food and drink is further limited from 30 before to only 15 now, except in places of worship, such as churches. The age at which it is mandatory to wear a mask is lowered. Previously, it was mandatory for children over 12 years of age; now it is mandatory for those over five and it is recommended that they also wear a mask from the age of two.
The mask is also mandatory for people who exercise indoors (previously they were exempt). Those who cannot tolerate a face mask for medical or other reasons will have to wear it anyway unless it is impossible. Face shields cannot replace masks, except for those who cannot work safely with a mask, such as drivers who wear glasses and get them fogged up.
Public health officials fear that with this rush of contagion, Alaska’s hospitals will be stretched to their limits and unable to admit anyone else, resulting in more deaths. They even fear that emergency medical shelters will be understaffed.
At a press conference last Friday, Anchorage public health officials encouraged residents to get tested, with or without symptoms, and even without being exposed to someone with Covid. The virus is everywhere, people need to make sure they are not infected and if they are, then necessary measures to mitigate the infection of more people must be taken. Testing is free and there are several locations where people can get tested without getting out of their car.
It is necesary to register in advance at www.visithealth.covidsecureapp.com