Gov. Mike Dunleavy at a press conference in Anchorage with Chief Medical Officer Dr. Anne Zink on Friday, April 3, 2020. (Courtesy photo | Officer of Gov. Mike Dunleavy)

Gov. Mike Dunleavy at a press conference in Anchorage with Chief Medical Officer Dr. Anne Zink on Friday, April 3, 2020. (Courtesy photo | Officer of Gov. Mike Dunleavy)

State is stocking up on supplies, preparing for spike in cases

State is stocking up on supplies, preparing for spike in cases

State officials announced six new cases of COVID-19 in Alaska bringing the state’s total up to 191 as of Monday evening. Gov. Mike Dunleavy said at a press conference in Anchorage, the state was building its health care capacity and working with outside organizations to gather supplies for Alaska.

Dunleavy announced the arrival of roughly 18,000 pounds of “critical medical supplies” from Samaritan’s Purse, a Christian humanitarian aid group led by Franklin Graham, son of the late Billy Graham. Those supplies would be used by Alaska’s rural communities, Dunleavy said.

Dunleavy said Samaritan’s Purse had worked in Alaska before and was wanted to specifically contribute to rural communities. The governor said he was willing to accept aid from a number of outside groups willing to help Alaska. He said the state could potentially work with other nations to secure assistance, but did not say which ones.

Incident Commander Bryan Fisher of the Alaska Unified Command said the state is preparing a number of overflow health care facilities to handle the increased demand for medical beds should the number of COVID-19 cases spike.

The Alaska Airlines Center at the University of Alaska Anchorage has been converted into a field hospital, Fisher said, and the state was looking at other locations around the state.

High school gymnasiums were being looked at around the state, but not currently in Southeast, Fisher said. The state had Federal Emergency Management Agency tents in its stockpile, Fisher said, which had been given to hospitals in Wrangell and Sitka.

Dunleavy said that in the coming week his administration would be reevaluating some of the health mandates it had issued to combat the virus.

He also announced this Friday, April 10, would be the Governor’s day of prayer and hope.

“We’re going to call on all the resources we can get,” Dunleavy said. “Resources made here on Earth, resources from up above.”

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