Gov. Mike Dunleavy holds a press conference at the Capitol on Tuesday, April 9, 2019. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire File)

Gov. Mike Dunleavy holds a press conference at the Capitol on Tuesday, April 9, 2019. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire File)

Capitol Live: State responds to COVID-19

Announcement came Wednesday morning.

12:28 p.m.

The House passed the Senate’s mental health budget with nay votes only from Rep. David Eastman, R-Wasilla, and Mike Prax, R-Nole Pole. A special joint subcommittee has been formed to address the coronavirus, but it’s first meeting will not be open to the public.

12:25 p.m.

Rep. Neal Foster, D-Nome, says the money is part of the mental health budget because there is a need to get the money out as soon as possible. The mental health budget is typically not controversial, which is why the Senate chose to add funds for the coronavirus to that budget.

12:17 p.m.

The Senate unanimously passed supplemental funding for more nurses, an epidemiologist, and a microbiologist. The Senate bill, which is currently before the House, would appropriate $4 million in state funds and $9 million in federal funds.

12:16 p.m.

Gov. Mike Dunleavy issued a disaster declaration concerning COVID-19 Wednesday morning. The declaration will allow the state to tap into federal funds, expedite certain procurement processes and allow the state to take special actions to address the spread of the virus.

There are currently no known cases of coronavirus in the state, according to Dr. Anne Zink, chief medical officer for the State of Alaska, told reporters at a press conference. But considering the spread of the virus in other communities in the United States, particularly Washington state, officials expect the virus to come to the state in the near future.

“We’re in contact with federal officials, we feel pretty good about the protocols that we have in place,” Dunleavy said. “We had a teleconference this morning with mayors around the state, legislative leadership, our commissioners.”

The governor repeated the advice given by health officials that washing hands, staying away from large groups, and diligent cleaning were excellent ways to contain the spread of the virus.

Department of Health and Social Services Commissioner Adam Crum said the state could receive $4.9 million from the federal government and potentially more.

This is a developing story, check back later for updates.

More in News

The Aurora Borealis glows over the Mendenhall Glacier in 2014. (Michael Penn / Juneau Empire File)
Aurora Forecast

Forecasts from the University of Alaska Fairbanks’ Geophysical Institute for the week of Feb. 5

Chunks of ice break off the Perito Moreno Glacier, in Lake Argentina, at Los Glaciares National Park, near El Calafate, in Argentina's Patagonia region, March 10, 2016. As glaciers melt and pour massive amounts of water into nearby lakes, 15 million people across the globe live under the threat of a sudden and deadly outburst flood, a new study finds. (AP Photo / Francisco Munoz)
Study: 15 million people live under threat of glacial floods

More than half of those are in just four countries: India, Pakistan, Peru and China.

Ben Hohenstatt / Juneau Empire File 
A porcupine dines in mid-August near the Mendnehall Glacier.
On the Trails: Putting a finer point on porcupines

Plants such as roses and devil’s club aren’t the only prickly ones…

(Michael Penn / Juneau Empire File)
Police calls for Tuesday, Feb. 7, 2023

This report contains information from law enforcement and public safety agencies.

U.S. Sen. Dan Sullivan addresses a joint session of the Alaska State Legislature in the House chambers on Tuesday. The Republican senator, appearing on the same day as Democratic President Joe Biden’s State of the Union speech (and thus absent from it), criticized the administration on issues ranging from drugs to opposing resource development in Alaska. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)
Sullivan applauds, denounces feds in speech to Legislature

Senator praises ferry funds and monitoring of China’s balloon, fears Biden limiting oil project.

Members of the Juneau Police Department pose for a group photo during the annual JPD awards ceremony on Monday. (Jonson Kuhn / Juneau Empire)
JPD honors officers in annual award ceremony

The late Chief Pat Wellington presented with legislative memoriam.

Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire 
Edward Richards, left, a high school student in the Sitka School District, talks about the lack of mental health services in Alaska’s public schools as part of the testimony also offered by district Superintendent Frank Hauser, center, and student Felix Myers during a Senate Education Meeting on Monday at the Alaska State Capitol. The committee is proposing a 17% increase in the state’s school funding formula, which was remained essentially flat since 2017.
School’s in at the Capitol

Students and education leaders from around state make case for more classroom cash.

Folks at the Alaska State Capitol openly admit to plenty of fish tales, but to a large degree in ways intended to benefit residents and sometimes even the fish. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)
The bizarre bills other state legislatures are considering

Alaska’s Legislature isn’t mulling the headline-grabbers some statehouses have in the works.

Most Read