State officials on Wednesday announced the number of reported coronavirus cases in Alaska had grown to 59. The figure included 17 new cases: 11 from Anchorage, three from Ketchikan and one each from Homer, Fairbanks and North Pole, Alaska’s chief medical officer Dr. Anne Zink, said.
The state health department, in a release, said the person in the Homer case was tested in Anchorage after returning from a trip to the Lower 48. That person has not returned to Homer since becoming ill, the department said.
For most people, the new coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough that clear up in two to three weeks. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia and death. Gov. Mike Dunleavy said an extension of restrictions on restaurants, bars and entertainment venues past April 1 is likely and a decision on that is expected in the coming days. Dunleavy last week ordered the closure of dine-in service at restaurants, bars and breweries and of entertainment venues such as theaters, gyms and bowling alleys through 5 p.m. April 1.
The state has issued a series of mandates and recommendations in a bid to slow the spread of the virus.
“It’s just simply not an exact science what levers you pull, and how and when,” Dunleavy said, adding later: “We’re doing everything we can to try and get this right, where we protect the health of Alaskans but at the same time we don’t cause a catastrophe that’s going to unravel before us when it comes to the economy.”
• This is an Associated Press report by Becky Bohrer.