COVID-19 update: no new Nome cases
As of Tuesday, there are 42 COVID-19 patients hospitalized in Alaska. The total case count for Alaska is 329 patients. Nine people died and 168 have recovered from the disease.
The total of U.S. deaths stands at 42,364.
The one patient who tested positive for COVID-19 in Nome is listed as recovered. According to the state’s COVID-19 data hub website, the Nome patient didn’t travel recently and has contracted the virus while being in the community. In an email to customers, GCI has identified the patient as one of their employees of the Nome GCI store on Front Street. The employee has not been in the store since April 3, the notification said, and customers are unlikely to be at risk, but GCI recommends that all who visited the store monitor their health closely and seek medical attention if they feel ill.
According to NSHC’s daily update, 194 people had been tested, with 86 rapid tests performed at NSHC, 108 were sent to labs for analysis, 57 tests are pending results. NSHC has 400 test kits available, 150 can be analyzed in Nome.
Norton Sound Health Corporation is offering drive-through testing for the COVID-19 virus to patients in Nome and the villages. This service is offered as an option, after review by a health care provider over the telephone, and is provided during regular business hours, the daily NHSC update says.
No new Nome or regional patients tested positive.
The City of Nome has closed city hall for walk-in traffic on April 15 and staff are communicating with the public by phone, email or fax.
The city still requires essential air travel use permits to come into Nome.
At Tuesday’s press conference, Alaska Governor Mike Dunleavy updated Alaskans on the plan to incrementally open up Alaska for business again. Beginning on Friday, April 24, restaurants can open up again and offer limited dining service, retail stores can open up and offer in-store shopping and Alaskans can look forward to finally getting that haircut, a tattoo or getting their nails done. But the opening comes with caveats. Restaurants can only serve 25 percent of capacity in their dining rooms and tables must be 10 feet apart. Barbers and hairdressers can only have one customer in the store at a time. Store workers must wear facemasks and gloves. For gyms, indoor activity is still prohibited, but classes outdoor are now permitted. Social distancing is upped from a ten person limit to 20 persons, still staying at a six-foot distance, but now weddings, funerals and religious gatherings can be held.
The governor said the social distancing mandate as well as the intrastate travel restriction to essential travel only is extended until further notice. The mandate requiring 14-day quarantine for those coming to Alaska from the outside was extended until May 19.
Dunleavy said that more mandates will be issued soon, but the careful re-opening of Alaskan businesses would be data and science-driven and carefully evaluated on a constant basis. “We knew that the numbers of infections will grow, we knew we can’t stop the virus, but we had to make sure that it doesn’t overwhelm our system,” he said.
Dunleavy also said he is expecting a large shipment with personal protective equipment from China this week. He announced the receipt of $1.25 billion funding from the Federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, and his plan for the distribution of funds and that he is submitting the plan and associated documents to the Alaska State Legislative Budget and Audit Committee.