Gov. Mike Dunleavy speaks during a virtual town hall meeting on Sept. 15. (Courtesy Photo / Office of Gov. Mike Dunleavy)

Governor issues health alert asking for COVID-19 diligence

Alert was sent to Alaskans phones

This article has been updated to include new information.

An emergency alert was sent to Alaskans’ phones Thursday with of video of Gov. Mike Dunleavy announcing the extension of his COVID-19 emergency declaration and urging Alaskans to wear masks and strictly observe health mitigation strategies.

Dunleavy did not issue any health mandates affecting the general public, but said that most state workers are being asked to work from home and masks must be worn while in state offices even by members of the public. The governor strongly urged Alaskans to follow health protocols such as social distancing and masking.

[Governor urges Alaskans to change behavior amid rising case counts]

“Our health care workers, first responders and service members are being infected at unprecedented rates,” Dunleavy says in the video. “I’m asking each and every one of you to reach deep for the next three weeks. If we cannot reduce the spread of this virus, we reduce our future options for how to proceed.”

The governor has stopped short of issuing statewide health mandates for health protocols like masking, but has repeatedly urged Alaskans to follow the advice of health care professionals.

In an email Dunleavy spokesperson Jeff Turner said the capacity of the state’s health care system is a legitimate and urgent concern and that the next three weeks are critical to slowing the spread of COVID-19.

“It is important to note while the administration and public health officials are aware of the needs of COVID-19 patients, there will always be individuals who will need care for emergencies such as a car accident, heart attack, or labor and delivery, and those individuals require skilled and healthy nurses and doctors,” the email said.

The governor chose to use the state’s emergency SMS text messaging system to reach the largest number of Alaskans instantaneously, Turner said in the email. The governor is aware that not all Alaskans use social media or consume news on a regular basis, the email said, and Dunleavy felt compelled to reach out the Alaskans in the most direct way possible to urge action to keep Alaskans safe.

The City and Borough of Juneau said in a news release Thursday it would not be raising the city’s risk level, which has been at Level 3 —High since Oct. 20, or implementing new mitigation measures.

“Governor Mike Dunleavy’s emergency message this morning reinforces the measures the City and Borough of Juneau has taken to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 in Juneau,” the statement said. “The guidance in the governor’s message includes maintaining a distance of six feet from all non-household members, wearing a mask or face covering, and utilizing online ordering and curbside pickup.”

• Contact reporter Peter Segall at psegall@juneauempire.com. Follow him on Twitter at @SegallJnuEmpire.

More in News

Jasmine Chavez, a crew member aboard the Quantum of the Seas cruise ship, waves to her family during a cell phone conversation after disembarking from the ship at Marine Park on May 10. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire file photo)
Ships in port for the week of July 6

Here’s what to expect this week.

Disney Williams (right) orders coffee from Lorelai Bingham from the Flying Squirrel coffee stand at Juneau International Airport on Thursday. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)
New coffee stand at airport stirs up heated dispute about having proper authorization to operate

Fans of Flying Squirrel Espresso praise location, hours; officials say FAA violations could be costly.

Nano Brooks and Emily Mesch file for candidacy on Friday at the City and Borough of Juneau Municipal Clerk’s office in City Hall. (Jasz Garrett / Juneau Empire)
City and Borough of Juneau regular municipal election candidate filing period opens

So far, most vie for Assembly District 2 seat — mayor, Board of Education, and District 1 also open.

Killah Priest performs at the Juneau Arts and Culture Center in December 2019. (Photo courtesy of Lance Mitchell)
Killah Priest sets new record with Alaskan artists on ‘Killah Borealis’

Wu-Tang Clan rapper seeks to lift Alaskan voices and culture in his return performance to Juneau

(Michael Penn / Juneau Empire file photo)
Police calls for Wednesday, July 10, 2024

For Wednesday, July 10 Attempt to Serve At 10:06 a.m. on Wednesday,… Continue reading

Commercial fishing boats are lined up at the dock at Seward’s harbor on June 22. Federal grants totaling a bit over $5 million have been awarded to the Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute to help Alaskans sell more fish to more diverse groups of consumers. (Yereth Rosen/Alaska Beacon)
Federal grants to state agency aim to expand markets for Alaska seafood

More than $5M to help ASMI comes after Gov. Dunleavy vetoed $10M for agency.

Gov. Mike Dunleavy holds up the omnibus crime bill, House Bill 66, after signing it at a ceremony Thursday at the Department of Public Safety’s aircraft hangar at Lake Hood in Anchorage. At his side are Sandy Snodgrass, whose 22-year-old son died in 2021 from a fentanyl overdose, and Angela Harris, who was stabbed in 2022 by a mentally disturbed man at the public library in Anchorage and injured so badly that she now uses a wheelchair. Snodgrass and Harris advocated for provisions in the bill.Behind them are legislators, law enforcement officers and others. (Yereth Rosen/Alaska Beacon)
Goals for new Alaska crime law range from harsher penalties for drug dealers to reducing recidivism

Some celebrate major progress on state’s thorniest crime issues while others criticize the methods.

Juneau Board of Education President Deedie Sorensen (left) and Vice President Emil Mackey, holding his son Emil Mackey IV, listen to discussion about next year’s budget for the school district during a meeting March 14 at Juneau-Douglas High School: Yadaa.at Kalé. Recall votes for both board members were certified this week for the Oct. 1 municipal election ballot. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire file photo)
Petitions to recall two Juneau school board leaders get enough signatures for Oct. 1 election ballot

President Deedie Sorensen, Vice President Emil Mackey targeted due to school district’s budget crisis.

Most Read