CASE COUNT: Wrangell currently has 3 active cases of COVID-19 in the community. As of today, the total case count for the state of Alaska is 57,988 cases. That’s an increase of 1,011 cases from last week. As of today, 1,260 people have required hospitalization. That includes 20 new hospitalizations over the last week. And as of today, 290 Alaskans have died. Two of those deaths occurred during the last week. The northern SE Alaska Region, which includes Wrangell moved from the low into the high State’s alert level. You can visit the data hub at data.coronavirus.alaska.gov. For local case information & resources, you can visit wrangellcovid19.org.
HEALTH ADVISORIES: The State Health Mandates have transitioned into Health Advisories. The four Advisories cover: Recommendations for Keeping Alaskans Safe, International & Interstate Travel, Intrastate Travel, and Critical Infrastructure. I recommend that everyone read Health Advisory #1, which is a great summary of what each of us can do to protect ourselves, our loved ones and our community. It also gives the cliff-notes version what to do if you test positive or if you have had close contact with a confirmed case, testing guidance, and travel considerations. You can review these advisories at covid19.alaska.gov. Questions can be sent to email@example.com.
TRAVEL: The Wrangell EOC is recommending that residents only travel for critical needs at this time. If you travel, it is strongly recommended that you get tested 1-3 days prior to travel, stay home for 7 days after travel, and get a 2nd test 5-7 days after travel. The follow-up test is a very important tool to determine whether you were infected during travel. If you have guests traveling to Wrangell, please encourage them to follow the travel recommendations. All incoming travelers can now get tested for free at the airport (even non-residents). Testing during travel is also important to identifying COVID and its variants. During the last week, there have been 2 cases within the state of individuals infected with a variant of COVID – 1 was the B 1.1.7 UK variant and one was the P.1 Brazilian variant.
Dr. Joe McLaughlin, an epidemiologist with the state health department, said there is evidence to suggest the P.1 variant is more transmissible than the original virus and that its mutations also “appear to change the antigenic profile of the virus.” That means it can potentially be contracted by someone who was already infected or who has been vaccinated.
It is a Federal requirement that all travelers awaiting, boarding, disembarking, or traveling on airplanes, ships, ferries, trains, subways, buses, taxis, and ride-shares must wear a face mask according to a CDC order that went into effect on February 1. This applies to travel into, within, or out of the United States and U.S. territories. People must also wear masks while at transportation hubs (e.g., airports, bus or ferry terminals, train and subway stations, seaports) and other locations where people board public transportation in the United States and U.S. territories.
VACCINE: All residents aged 16 years and older that are interested in receiving the COVID-19 vaccine are encouraged to register at covid19.searhc.org. Please provide a valid email when you register, and you will receive an email notification to schedule your appointment. New clinics will be added as more vaccine supplies arrive. If you have any questions or cannot register electronically, please call the clinic at 874-4700 or call the SEARHC COVID Hotline at 907.966.8799.
As of today, 872 Wrangell residents have been vaccinated, more than 65% of those individuals have completed the 2-dose series. Since it is unknown whether vaccinated individuals might still be able to pass the virus on to others, it is still important for everyone to follow the recommended mitigation measures such as: wearing a mask, staying home when you are sick, delaying unnecessary travel, taking care of your health, keeping your social circle small, and washing your hands.
TESTING: If you have symptoms, it is important to seek testing as soon as possible. Both asymptomatic and symptomatic testing can be arranged by calling the Clinic M-F at 874-4700. If you have been vaccinated, but are experiencing symptoms, it’s still important to get tested.
PUBLIC NOTICE: The Borough Assembly recently approved a Resolution to allow for a modified plan to return to In-Person meetings of the Borough Assembly and other Boards & Commission of the City. The Resolution and the Mitigation Plan can be viewed atwrangell.com For more info you can contact the Borough Clerk at firstname.lastname@example.org.
When attending an Assembly or any other City Board or Commission Meeting, Face Coverings or Face Shields are REQUIRED by all Assembly Members, Staff, and the General Public – NO EXCEPTIONS! Face Coverings or Face Shields will be available for those who need one.
HOUSING RELIEF: Alaska Housing Rent Relief – Alaska Housing Rent Relief is an Alaska Housing & Finance Corporation program that provides up to 12 months of rent and/or utility relief to eligible Alaskan renters who have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Even if you’ve received rent relief from AHFC in the past, you can apply to this new program. The application period closes to new applications at 11:59 pm on March 5th, 2021. You can check your eligibility online by visiting alaskahousingrelief.org and answering 7 check-the-box questions. Many Alaskans think they make too much money to qualify, but that’s often not the case.