Christine Hutchison, who lives in Kenai and also serves on the Kenai Harbor Commission, testifies in support of the use of alternative treatments for COVID-19 during a meeting of the Kenai City Council on Wednesday, Oct. 20, 2021 in Kenai, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)

Christine Hutchison, who lives in Kenai and also serves on the Kenai Harbor Commission, testifies in support of the use of alternative treatments for COVID-19 during a meeting of the Kenai City Council on Wednesday, Oct. 20, 2021 in Kenai, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)

‘Medical liberty’ petition brought to Kenai City Council

Some members of the public and Kenai City Council spoke against health mandates and in support of alternative treatments for COVID-19

At least eight people testified in opposition to COVID-19 health mandates during Wednesday’s meeting of the Kenai City Council, where legislation about COVID-19 was not being considered. Members of the same group similarly testified in opposition to COVID-19 mandates during last week’s meeting of the Soldotna City Council.

Garett Ennis, of Kenai, presented council members with demonstrators’ “Citizen’s Declaration of Medical Liberty,” as he did at the Soldotna meeting last week. That declaration opposes medical mandates and alleges that government officials who violate the tenets of the declaration are in violation of the U.S. and Alaska constitutions.

“Short of an appropriately responsive government, I/We, a/the Citizen(s) of Alaska, and of the United States of America, reserve and reaffirm the right to remove illegitimate and tyrannical government officials through the prescribed electoral process, recall, impeachment, or by any other proportional means prescribed by law or otherwise necessary to reestablish and secure personal medical liberty,” the declaration says.

The petition has garnered 37 signatures according to its change.org website.

Jason Floyd, who owns Ammo Can Coffee Social Club in Soldotna and also testified in opposition to COVID-19 health mandates during last week’s Soldotna council meeting, thanked Kenai council members for not wearing face masks and said he was “watching” when the city accepted federal COVID-19 relief funds.

“We have what seems to be an open tap of federal money coming into this community and this state to influence our government,” Floyd said. “For those folks who are in charge of our health care system to then coerce us into doing something with our bodies that maybe we want to do or not do is inappropriate.”

Council member Teea Winger thanked Floyd for testifying and asserted that the City of Kenai kept its emergency declaration in effect so that it could continue to receive COVID relief funds.

“We did keep an emergency order in effect just to be able to be eligible to receive funds,” Winger said. “So you’re very much correct that some of this could be driven not out of good policy.”

Kenai resident Christine Hutchison, who serves on the Kenai Harbor Commission, was one of multiple people who testified in support of the use of alternative treatments for COVID-19 infection, including ivermectin. Hutchison went on to say that she is about to travel to Anchorage, where the local assembly recently instituted a mask mandate, and will not comply with that mandate.

“Anytime I’m in a group of three or four people, I ask them, ‘Do you know what the protocol is to prevent getting it? Do you have ivermectin on your bathroom shelf? Because you can get it! There’s places where you can get it,” Hutchison said. “The doctors will not help you, the pharmacy will not help you and the hospital will not help you.”

Winger thanked Hutchison for her testimony and suggested that ivermectin could have been used to save William Topel, a conservative political figure in Anchorage who died from COVID-19 earlier this month at Providence Alaska Medical Center and made statewide headlines.

“I think there’s a lot of misconceptions about what ivermectin can do preventative(ly), and you’re exactly right,” Winger said. “If we were able to prescribe things on a therapeutic treatment level, people such as Mr. Bill Topel wouldn’t have passed away. So there are preventable treatments. It’s hard to do a cheap treatment when you’re battling a trillion dollar industry.”

While clinical trials assessing the use of ivermectin tablets for the prevention or treatment of COVID-19 in people are ongoing, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration currently does not recommend the use of ivermectin to treat COVID-19 and has warned that taking large doses of ivermectin is dangerous.

“There seems to be a growing interest in a drug called ivermectin for the prevention or treatment of COVID-19 in humans,” the FDA says on their webpage. “Certain animal formulations of ivermectin … are approved in the U.S. to treat or prevent parasites in animals. For humans, ivermectin tablets are approved at very specific doses to treat some parasitic worms, and there are topical … formulations for head lice and skin conditions like rosacea.”

The FDA has reported that they have received multiple reports of patients who have required medical attention, including hospitalization, after self-medicating with ivermectin intended for livestock.

Queen Parker, of Sterling, quoted from the Declaration of Independence and advocated for individual choice when it comes to health care treatment.

“When the government insists on masks, that is the government micromanaging my health care options in a … one-size-fits-all (fashion),” Parker said. “This is just a political experiment.”

Council member-elect James Baisden also testified in opposition to COVID-19 health mandates. Baisden said he’s currently in a “fight” with the University of Alaska Fairbanks because they are requiring students who live in dorms to be vaccinated against COVID-19.

“I can see the federal government coming in with mandates towards us with any of the monies that we’ve received … “ Baisden said. “I’m going to be a voice against that. I think that it’s wrong.”

Wednesday’s full city council meeting can be viewed on the City of Kenai’s YouTube channel.

Reach reporter Ashlyn O’Hara at ashlyn.ohara@peninsulaclarion.com.

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