Gov. Mike Dunleavy at a press conference in Anchorage on Friday, April 9, 2020. (Courtesy photo | Office of Gov. Mike Dunleavy)

Gov. Mike Dunleavy at a press conference in Anchorage on Friday, April 9, 2020. (Courtesy photo | Office of Gov. Mike Dunleavy)

State to use hotels, dorms to quarantine homeless

Federal money can be used for ‘non-congregant sheltering’

The state is ready to use hotels, college dorms and other housing as quarantine locations for homeless people and first responders, said Alaska Department of Health and Social Services Commissioner Adam Crum at a Monday press conference in Anchorage.

Homeless people and first responders who need to quarantine away from others could be housed in hotels, dorms and “properly modified non-traditional structures,” Crum said.

DHSS identified a need to implement what it called “non-congregate shelter” for vulnerable communities and first responders who may need to quarantine away from their families, according to a release. The mandate will remain in effect until rescinded.

The mandate would allow the state to use federal relief money to stand up special quarantine facilities, according to Crum.

“There are a lot of options around the state when it comes to this,” he said.

The state had 277 COVID-19 cases as of Monday evening, said Gov. Mike Dunleavy at the same press conference. That’s an increase of five since Sunday, including a case in Juneau.

Later this week the administration would begin looking at various sectors of the economy that could be opened soon. Which sectors would be opened would depend on the community, the governor said.

“We aren’t going to open up these communities unless we’ve sat down and had a conversation with the communities that are impacted,” Dunleavy said.

The health of the economy will not be put before the health of Alaskans, Dunleavy said, and conversations about when certain sectors might open again would start this week.

Also Monday, President Donald Trump suggested at a press conference he had the authority to order states to open their businesses again.

Asked about the president’s comment, Dunleavy said, “It’s the governors who have dialed back and it’s we who have dialed up.”

• 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.

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