With COVID-19 case counts on the rise locally and statewide, more stringent mitigation measures will soon go into effect for the City and Borough of Juneau, the city announced Wednesday evening.
The measures, which are effective as of 5 p.m. Friday, Aug. 20, include:
— Continued use of masks in public indoor areas, wearing masks in public outdoor areas where distancing can’t be maintained and keeping a social bubble contained to family members.
— A 20-person limit for indoor gatherings with masks required, no limit if all people are vaccinated and 6 feet of distancing recommended for outdoor gatherings;
— Personal services by appointment only and no waiting areas;
— Bars and restaurants are limited to 50% capacity, must maintain 6 feet of distance between patrons, maintain a patron list and close at 11 p.m.;
— Gyms are also limited to 50% capacity, cannot host no group activities and must limit indoor classes to only fully vaccinated people.
The new measures come with an increase in the overall community risk level. Previously, the city was operating at a modified Level 3 risk level, according to CBJ, but soaring numbers of cases fueled by the delta variant in the city and state mean COVID-19 Community Mitigation Strategies will be fully implemented. The city had been at the previous risk level since the end of July.
As a result, of increased cases, Public Health is no longer able to adequately contact trace, the city said in a news release. Hospitals in Anchorage and Seattle are significantly restricted, limiting Bartlett Regional Hospital’s ability to medevac critical patients.
Bartlett Regional Hospital is not over patient capacity, according to the city, but it is contending with staffing shortages and nationwide health care supply chain issues that will make it difficult if hospitalizations increase. As of Wednesday evening, the city reported three patients with COVID-19 were hospitalized in Juneau.
The city reported 32 new COVID-19 cases on Wednesday and a total of 168 active cases. The state reported 647 new COVID-19 cases.
City and state health officials continue to encourage people exhibiting symptoms —even mild ones —to get tested for COVID-19. Additionally, health officials maintain that free, easily accessible vaccines remain the best way to limit spread of COVID-19.
People can register to be tested or vaccinated online through https://juneau.org/covid-19 or by calling (907)586-600.
• Contact Ben Hohenstatt at (907)308-4895 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter at @BenHohenstatt.