Alaska’s state health commissioner is ending a public health emergency order that’s been in place in response to the pandemic.
Commissioner Adam Crum said the state health department has been working to ensure that measures needed to respond to COVID-19 are permanent or sustainable. The emergency order ends July 1, KTOO Public Media reported.
“Most folks actually probably don’t even understand that we still have this in place,” Crum said.
Legislation passed last year allowed the commissioner to declare an emergency. Crum’s order took effect in May 2021.
Crum’s order was to expire when a federal emergency order did unless he rescinded it sooner. The federal order is expected to run at least through mid-July.
Public health director Heidi Hedberg said Alaska’s public health division will continue offering COVID-19 services. The health department also plans to continue tracking and reporting cases.
Starting July 1, federal reimbursement rates change. The Federal Emergency Management Agency has been reimbursing COVID-19-related spending at 100%; that will fall to 90% with a 10% state match.
The end of the state order means that extra food assistance benefits will end for more than 56,000 Alaska households that received them. The size of the extra benefit varies. Those benefits will continue through August.