Chief Medical Officer Dr. Anne Zink speaks via video at a press conference in Anchorage on Monday, March 30, 2020. (Peter Segall | Juneau Empire)

Chief Medical Officer Dr. Anne Zink speaks via video at a press conference in Anchorage on Monday, March 30, 2020. (Peter Segall | Juneau Empire)

Health care infrastructure is increasing, Gov says

State is receiving more supplies from feds, private industry

Alaska is increasing its health care and testing capacity in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, said Gov. Mike Dunleavy.

“You are buying valuable time,” Dunleavy said at a press conference in Anchorage Thursday, adding by taking steps to mitigate the spread of the virus Alaskans are helping the state build it supplies of equipment and emergency facilities.

The Department of Health and Social Services has secured a second 10,000-square-foot warehouse, according to Chief Medical Officer Dr. Anne Zink, who said the state had received medical supplies from the federal government.

In addition to the supplies from outside the state, private companies within the state were switching their production to the creation of masks, swabs and sanitizer.

According to an extensive slide-show presentation given by Zink, the state has over 10,000 N95 respirator masks in its stockpiles and more than 65,000 surgical masks. Questions have been raised in the past about the number of ventilators the state had in its possession, a number Zink said was hard to pin down because not all of them were in working conditions.

There were currently 305 ventilators already in hospitals around the state, Zink said, and another 70 in the stockpile. The federal government recently sent 60 ventilators to the state, but the state is testing how many of those were in working condition.

“Ventilators have to be a very precise machine,” Zink said, as the machines are used to take over a person’s lung function. “We are in the process of testing of all of those,” she said.

DHSS also announced a new website with interactive maps and graphs breaking down Alaska’s COVID-19 data by age, gender and region and shows the number of tests being done in the state.

Zink’s presentation also showed that the recently passed federal CARES Act would provide $90,000 for smaller hospitals, including Bartlett Regional Hospital. That money would be available to the state by late April, the presentation said.

Since Wednesday, there were three additional COVID-19 cases, all in Fairbanks, bringing the state’s total to 147.

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

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.

More in News

Michael S. Lockett | Juneau Empire 
                                Henry Williams runs from Douglas to the Mendenhall Valley on Memorial Day to honor dead service members, including his relative, Air Force Tech Sgt. Leslie Dominic Williams, who died in Afghanistan in 2011.
Memorial Day passes quietly amid coronavirus concerns, damp weather

People found their own ways to honor the hallowed dead.

Police calls for Tuesday, May 26, 2020

This report contains public information available to the Empire from law enforcement… Continue reading

Police calls for Sunday, May 24, 2020

This report contains public information available to the Empire from law enforcement… Continue reading

Michael S. Lockett | Juneau Empire File
                                School districts throughout the state will put together plans for what the next school year will look like. Juneau School District Superintendent Bridget Weisse said smaller groups and less mixing are expected to remain important.
Juneau School District readies for summer assignment

Districts will plan for how to safely continue education.

Police calls for Friday, May 22, 2020

This report contains public information available to the Empire from law enforcement… Continue reading

Police calls for Thursday, May 21, 2020

This report contains public information available to the Empire from law enforcement… Continue reading

Most Read