Dr. Anne Zink, chief medical officer for the State of Alaska, front, and Gov. Mike Dunleavy at a press conference in Anchorage on Thursday, March 19, 2020. (Courtesy photo | Office of Gov. Mike Dunleavy)

Dr. Anne Zink, chief medical officer for the State of Alaska, front, and Gov. Mike Dunleavy at a press conference in Anchorage on Thursday, March 19, 2020. (Courtesy photo | Office of Gov. Mike Dunleavy)

Gov ID’s 2 new COVID cases, issues travel advisories and orders business closures

Fairbanks and Ketchikan see more cases, non-essential travel advised to cease

Alaska has two additional cases of COVID-19, Gov. Mike Dunleavy said at a press conference in Anchorage Friday evening. The new cases bring the total in the state to 14

The new cases were found in Ketchikan and Fairbanks, two communities the state was most concerned about according to Dr. Anne Zink, chief medical officer for the state.

The Ketchikan case was travel-related, Zink said, and the Fairbanks case was still under investigation. Zink called on Alaskans to social distance and take preventative measures to limit the spread of the virus.

The state strongly recommends that all non-essential personal, business and medial travel outside the state be suspended immediately, Zink said. All out-of-state residents were encouraged to return to their home communities as well.

Additionally, Zink asked all long-distance in-state travel be ceased as well, particularly to or from communities where the virus has already been detected.

[City and state advise against long-distance travel]

“This time is a time for action for all of us,” Zink said. “This is a time to stay home, stay with our families.”

The state is short on its supply of blood, Zink said, and asked anyone who is able to contact a blood bank to donate blood. Anyone with protective gear was encouraged to contact their local health care providers as the state was trying to increase its supply.

Given the increases of COVID-19 in the Ketchikan Gateway Borough and the Fairbanks North Star Borough, the state orders the closure of non-health care business which require people to be closer than six feet apart. That includes barbers, hair salons and beauty parlors, said Adam Crum, commissioner of the Department of Health and Social Services.

All schools state-wide, including private schools were to be closed until May 1, Crum said.

The state is expanding its ability to test for the virus, Zink said, and had received two new testing machines that were being put into service.

Dunleavy mentioned his economic plan unveiled earlier in the day and the recently created economic stabilization team lead by former U.S. Sen. Mark Begich and former Gov. Sean Parnell to say efforts were being made to ease the financial repercussions of the outbreak.

Zink repeated the need for people to wash their hands, maintain distance between one another, stay home if they’re feeling ill and use other commonsense measures to help contain the spread of the virus.

• Contact reporter Peter Segall at 523-2228 or psegall@juneauempire.com.

Information on the coronavirus is available from websites for the City and Borough of Juneau, the State of Alaska at coronavirus.alaska.gov and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. People with flu-like symptoms are encouraged to contact their health care provider.

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