Despite the expiration of a statewide emergency declaration, COVID-19 testing remains available at the Juneau airport. Travelers into the capital city must show proof of a negative test or test at the airport after travel, based on local ordinance. Also, travelers must practice strict social distancing for five days after arriving in town. (Ben Hohenstatt / Juneau Empire File)

CBJ mitigation measures continue

Despite state’s expired emergency declaration, city rules still in effect

Citywide COVID-19 mitigation measures remain in the City and Borough of Juneau despite Gov. Mike Dunleavy’s announcement that the statewide disaster declaration has expired, city officials said at Tuesday’s weekly community briefing.

“It’s the same as last week here,” said Rorie Watt, CBJ city manager. “No change effectively.”

Watt said that based on an ordinance the city Assembly recently passed, protocols that mirror the state mandates go into effect when the state mandate lapses. The ordinance sunsets when — and if — a state mandate is reinstated.

As a result, all of the mitigation orders in place locally remain in place. This includes airport testing, strict social distancing requirements after travel, mask mandates, and limits on groups’ sizes.

“Our case counts are trending down, and we have fewer cases, but there’s still some community spread. Mask mandates and group limits are effective in keeping it low,” Watt said.

Deputy City Manager Mila Cosgrove, who is also the emergency operations center incident commander, said that the EOC is continuing to focus on the changing nature of the legislative environment.

“We are working to make sure we have all the pieces in place, all the i’s dotted and all the t’s crossed,” Cosgrove said. “From a practical standpoint, the EOC asks the statewide EOC for assistance. There could be some impacts in that regard. But, our citizens won’t see much of a difference.”

She said that people in other parts of the state might see a difference, and those people could travel to Juneau, which could be confusing.

Governor confident in state’s ability to respond to virus without disaster declaration

“The more we speak with one voice, the better. The state has done a really good job speaking with one voice, so far,” she added.

Robert Barr, planning chief for the city’s emergency operations center, said that he doesn’t expect the lapsing of the state’s emergency order to affect the city’s ability to acquire or to distribute vaccines.

Watt said the city had no plans to deviate from the state’s established vaccination prioritization plans.

Other COVID-19 indicators improving

Overall, Juneau’s seven-day infection level is 0.67%, officially considered a “minimal” level of spread. However, the 14-infection level is still classified as moderate, Cosgrove said.

The COVID-19 cluster at Wildflower Court is now resolved, officials said.

Residents and staff at care facility still symptom-free

Vaccines

Vaccines are being distributed with 1,050 doses distributed at last week’s CBJ-run vaccination clinic, bringing the city’s vaccination rate to about 27% of Juneau residents receiving two doses and 16.5% having at least one dose.

These numbers are likely on the low side because Indian Health Services and the Veterans Administration are also distributing vaccines in town.

“We will have more clinics and more appointments,” Barr said. He said that he expects to know more about the upcoming clinics and the available supply later this week.

New case identified at school

Late Tuesday, parents received an email from school officials that a new case of COVID-19 had been reported at Harborview Elementary School. The email said that public health officials and district protocols were being followed.

Contact Dana Zigmund at dana.zigmund@juneauempire.com or 907-308-4891.

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