Amid word of Alaska’s first in-state death from coronavirus Friday, the state issued a series of sweeping new mandates aimed at corralling the spread of the disease.
In effect Saturday at 5 p.m., Alaskans are ordered to shelter at home and close all non-essential businesses, officials said at a media briefing Friday evening. As of 8 a.m. Saturday, the state is also banning all non-essential travel within Alaska, to slow the spread of the virus between communities.
The business closure exempts health care, public government and essential businesses.
Both mandates will be re-evaluated by April 11.
“We just want to let folks know at this point, given where we are and the cases are growing, we want to try to isolate as many Alaskans as possible,” Gov. Mike Dunleavy said.
Alaska’s first in-state coronavirus death was reported Friday at Alaska Native Medical Center in Anchorage.
The state also announced 16 new confirmed cases of COVID-19, the infectious disease caused by the new coronavirus, bringing the total to 85 cases. New cases included nine Anchorage residents, three in Fairbanks, and one each in Girdwood, North Pole, Ketchikan and Juneau.
The person killed by the virus in Anchorage was a woman in her 60s with underlying medical conditions, said Dr. Anne Zink, the state’s chief medical officer.
Alaska Native Medical Center said a patient seen “for an unrelated reason” was tested Monday for COVID-19, the infectious disease caused by the new coronavirus. By Wednesday, the state lab reported the test came back positive.
The patient, who was isolating at home and “doing well,” experienced a rapid deterioration of their condition, the hospital said. The emergency department was notified and the patient returned to the hospital.
Staff put the patient in immediate isolation and they were admitted to the hospital’s negative pressure unit, officials there said. “Our condolences go out to our patient’s family and loved ones. We also extend our appreciation to our staff who cared for this person and provided support and comfort to the family,” the hospital said.
The hospital said the patient died “due to complications after contracting novel coronavirus.”
Alaska’s prior statewide mandates included a 14-day quarantine for any travelers arriving in the state, a prohibition on dine-in services at bars and restaurants, the closure of entertainment facilities such as theaters and gyms, and a school closure until May 1.
This is a developing story. Check back for updates.
Source Website Statewide shelter in place, travel ban ordered as Alaska sees first in-state COVID-19