Wrangell has had 20 cases of COVID-19 so far, with no active cases currently in the community. The case count for the entire state of Alaska is 11,183 cases to date. That’s an increase of 1322 cases from last week, definitely on the rise. As of today, 338 people have required hospitalization. That includes 28 new hospitalizations over the last week. And as of today, 64 people have died. Five of those deaths have occurred during the last week. For more data, you can visit the COVID data hub.

Alaska, as well as many other states across the nation is experiencing an acceleration in the spread of COVID. Please stay vigilant in your personal hygiene practices and wear masks when interacting with others outside your household. Stay home if you’re sick. Wrangell is fortunate that we’ve been able to keep our residents safe, keep our schools and businesses open, and have been able to host some well mitigated activities for youth and families. The ability to do these things is up to the individual actions of all of you. We honor you for your efforts and encourage you to stay the course.

Please take time to plan how to keep you and your family safe during the holiday season. The CDC has released guidelines and fallen winter holiday celebrations that you may find useful. These can be found at cdc.gov.

Masks continue to be available at public buildings around town. The library has masks in children’s and adult sizes, call 874-3535 for more info. The fire hall also has masks, and can be reached at 874-3223. Local businesses also carry a variety of masks.

The SEARHC COVID-19 hotline is available seven days a week from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. at 907-966-8799. Community asymptomatic testing continues to be available every Saturday and Sunday at the SEARHC clinic parking lot from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Test results are still currently being received within five days or less. They have moved to an electronic system so bring your phone if you have one. There’s been a slight decrease in the number of people participating in free asymptomatic community testing. SEARHC would like you to know that testing supplies for the test are robust, and supply availability should not deter anyone from being tested. Overall, 15% of the local population was tested over the last seven days.

SEARHC would like to encourage the community to get their flu shots. SEARHC is providing a free drive-through flu shot clinic on Saturday October 17 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. for ages 10 and up at the Evergreen Elementary School. It will be located in the school parking lot between the school and the Wrangell Medical Center. There is no high dose vaccine available. This vaccine is typically given to people ages of 65 and older, but the recommendation is not to wait, and for those aged 65 and older to get vaccinated as soon as possible.

The November 1 application deadline is approaching for the local business and household CARES Act grant funding. Go to www.wrangell.com for the application, and contact City Hall with any questions.

Lastly, tomorrow is International Shakeout Day. Great Shakeout earthquake drills are an opportunity to practice how to be safer during earthquakes. These drills focus on practicing to drop, cover, and hold on. Shakeout has also been organized to encourage you, your community, your school, or your organization to update emergency plans and supplies and to secure your space in order to prevent damage and injuries. You can learn more about the Great Shakeout here.