Alaska Gov. Mike Dunleavy announces the state of Alaska has its first positive case of the new coronavirus, during a news conference Thursday, March 12, 2020, in Anchorage, Alaska. (AP Photo | Mark Thiessen)

Alaska Gov. Mike Dunleavy announces the state of Alaska has its first positive case of the new coronavirus, during a news conference Thursday, March 12, 2020, in Anchorage, Alaska. (AP Photo | Mark Thiessen)

Alaska coronavirus cases grow to 12

As of Thursday night, the state had conducted 513 tests for the new coronavirus.

Three new positive cases of COVID-19 were announced by Gov. Mike Dunleavy at a Thursday night press conference, bringing the state’s reported total number of positive cases to 12.

As of Thursday night, the state had conducted 513 tests for the new coronavirus. Of the 12 cases in Alaska, four are in Anchorage, one is on the Kenai Peninsula in Seward, two are in Ketchikan, and five are in Fairbanks.

One of the announced cases is in Ketchikan, where a recent traveler tested positive days ago. The state’s chief medical office, Dr. Anne Zink, said she doesn’t believe the Ketchikan case is a result of community spread, but is rather a case where the patient came in direct contact with someone who tested positive. Zink didn’t have any other details on the Ketchikan patient.

The two people who tested positive in Fairbanks — who were in the 20s and 30s age range — had not traveled in the past two weeks, Zink said.

However, the state is investigating if the patients were in close contact with the three other Fairbanks patients who previously tested positive. If the two newly tested patients were in close contact with the other COVID-19 positive residents, it would not be considered community transferred, Zink said. Community transfer and community spread are determined when a person contracts the disease with no trace of how the person contracted the disease.

“Either way it’s concerning the two people in Fairbanks had not traveled,” Zink said.

Zink said all Alaskans who have tested positive are self-isolating and have been working with health officials. No Alaskans have been hospitalized because of COVID-19.

Right now, the state is looking to build up the health care capacity. Dunleavy said the number of cases are growing, and issued two new health mandates that require Alaskans to cancel elective, non-life threatening procedures and surgeries in an effort to free up protective equipment for health care workers. Zink said the nation is also seeing a shortage of these supplies.

One of the two mandates issued Thursday night requires patients, providers, hospitals and surgical centers to postpone or cancel all non-urgent or elective procedures for three months. The other mandate requires elective oral health care procedures to be postponed for a period of one month.

Dunleavy also announced he’s been working with the state and federal government on how Alaska workers and business owners can manage to stay afloat during this “economic hardship.”

A letter and application from the state was sent to the Small Business Administration to access $2 million in disaster loans. Dunleavy said he would announce when the state heard more about the status of that application.

“This is no fault of the working Alaska,” Dunleavy said. “We want to make sure we assist them as soon as possible.”

Dunleavy took a moment to advocate for a full statutory Alaska Permanent Fund dividend check. He said Alaskans need “cash in their hands.”

“I can’t think of a time in the last 40 years where more people would need cash in their hands to pay for their bills,” Dunleavy said.

He said he is hoping the Legislature sees the benefits of paying a statutory check “sooner rather than later,” and said he is in talks of potentially breaking up payments into two checks paid out over time.

Across the nation, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control is reporting 10,442 positive cases, with 150 deaths.

COVID-19 is the disease caused by the new coronavirus that emerged in late 2019. Symptoms for the disease include fever, runny nose, cough and breathing trouble. The elderly and those with weakened immune systems are particularly vulnerable to the disease.

More in News

Gov. Mike Dunleavy speaks during a Friday, April 3, 2020 press conference in the Atwood Building in Anchorage, Alaska. (Photo courtesy Office of the Governor)
State recommends wearing face coverings in public

Number of Kenai Peninsula cases grows to 10; state tally rises to 157

Chief Medical Officer Dr. Anne Zink participates via teleconference in the state’s daily press briefing on the new coronavirus on Monday, March 30, 2020. (Courtesy photo)
State changes website, COVID-19 reporting

The state’s case daily count will be based on the numbers reported as of 11:59 p.m. the previous day.

Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion
                                Soldotna’s Sheryl Nelson and her son, Robert, ski at Tsalteshi Trails on Tuesday, just outside of Soldotna.
Breath of fresh air

Challenges, pleasures of staying active during coronavirus threat

The RavnAir kiosk stands empty at the Kenai Airport on Thursday, April 2, 2020. The company announced Thursday they were cutting all service by 90%. (Photo by Victoria Petersen/Peninsula Clarion)
Ravn cuts air service by 90%

The group will maintain service to their “essential” air service communities, including Kenai, Homer.

Nikiski man faces sexual abuse, attempted murder charges

The man is being held without bail and is facing 22 charges.

Department of Health and Social Services Commissioner Adam Crum presents at a press conference addressing the extension of two mandates issued by Gov. Mike Dunleavy in response to the spread of COVID-19, on Wednesday, April 1, 2020 in Anchorage, Alaska. (Courtesy photo)
10 COVID-19 new cases reported, mandates extended

Eatery dine-in services, bars and entertainment venues to be closed indefinitely.

The Kenai Peninsula Borough School District and borough administration building is closed on March 26, 2020, in Soldotna, Alaska. (Victoria Petersen/Peninsula Clarion)
Borough to hold emergency meeting Friday

The meeting will not be open to the public to enforce social distancing and recent health mandates.

The entrance to the Kenai Police Department, as seen in Kenai, Alaska, on April 1, 2020. (Photo by Brian Mazurek/Peninsula Clarion)
How will mandates be enforced?

Police ask for public to use common-sense, follow guidelines

Area seniors remain vigilant to new coronavirus threat

“I can’t recall anything else so close to so many people as to what we’re facing now.”

Most Read