Breaking: Alaska’s 1st coronavirus case confirmed

Dunleavy made announcement at press conference Thursday evening

Alaska has its first confirmed case of COVID-19, a disease caused by a new coronavirus that emerged from China in late 2019, Gov. Mike Dunleavy said Thursday.

Speaking at an evening press conference in Anchorage, the governor said it was no surprise considering the spread of the virus throughout the rest of the country.

State of Alaska Chief Medical Officer Dr. Anne Zink said the confirmed case was a foreign national transiting through Alaska. The individual was aware of the symptoms and contacted medical professions when they became concerned they may have been exposed. Zink did not say where the individual was from but did say they had arrived by flight, though she would not say whether it was a commercial flight.

Officials were working to figure out the details of the individual’s travel and where they had been. Zink confirmed the patient was an adult man and had traveled through Ted Stevens International Airport in Anchorage. The patient was still in Anchorage, Zink said.

“This is a person who had been traveling quite a bit internationally, very recently come to Alaska,” Zink said. “This is a person with very little exposure in Alaska. This is not someone who was wandering the community.”

Chief Medical Officer at Alaska Regional Hospital Keri Gardner said the exposure took place in a controlled setting.

“We were prepared for taking care of this individual when they arrived at the emergency room,” Gardner said.

The patient called their medical provider, Gardner said, who advised that they contact the hospital. The patient was currently in a stable condition, she said.

Zink said the man’s diligence to self-monitor and then self-isolate demonstrated the importance of education in containing the virus.

The person, “did an amazing job,” in self-isolating, Zink said, and there was a team working on where he had traveled. Zink would not say if the man had gone to a hotel, but did say if they felt anyone needed to be notified they would be and if any specific locations needed to be identified they would be.

The man has been discharged from the hospital and the state was working on housing that person in a safe area, Zink said. How long the patient will remain in Anchorage is an open question, the patient will be isolated and it’s possible the patient will be transported out of the state, she said.

Zink said they wanted to protect the person’s privacy and state officials wanted to avoid stigmatizing patients.

“We continue to work with our protocols,” Dunleavy said. “No reason to panic, no reason to get upset. I believe Alaska is well equipped to deal with this situation.”

Dunleavy said the state had been notified about the case roughly two hours before the press conference began at 5 p.m.

Officials had said in the previous days the coronavirus was likely to appear in Alaska. On Wednesday the governor issued an emergency declaration and the Legislature passed a bill containing emergency funding.

People with questions or concerns can visit the state’s coronavirus website, or the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website,

More in News

In this June 2019 photo, people gather outside U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski’s office in Juneau, Alaska, to protest the proposed Pebble Mine. The Pebble Limited Partnership, which wants to build a copper and gold mine near the headwaters of a major U.S. salmon fishery in southwest Alaska, says it plans to offer residents in the region a dividend. (AP Photo/Becky Bohrer, File)
Mine developer sees review as positive for Alaska project

Pebble is on track to win key approvals. Critics say it has been rushed and is inadequate.

Homer Wells Fargo employee tests positive for COVID-19; branch closes for the day

The Homer branch of Wells Fargo closed today after an employee there… Continue reading

AP FILE PHOTO BY James Poulson/Daily Sitka Sentinel 
                                The bronze statue of 19th century Russian America Governor Alexander Baranov sports a hard hat and a reflective vest, after being moved from its original site in front of Centennial Hall in Sitka in February 2013. Far away from Confederate memorials, Alaska residents have joined the movement to eliminate statues of colonialists accused of abusing and exploiting Indigenous people. The effort has already resulted in the statue of Baranov being taken out of public view in the city.
Homer Farmers Market: Booths are brimming

I didn’t even get to the Homer Farmers Market until 2 p.m.… Continue reading

Gary Stevens looks to keep his Alaska Senate seat

Incumbent Gary Stevens is making a bid to keep his seat in… Continue reading

Soldotna’s Greg Madden makes bid for Alaska Senate

Relative political newcomer Greg Madden of Soldotna is hoping to serve his… Continue reading

John Cox makes a run at Senate District P seat

In a bid for what would be his freshman term in state… Continue reading

The Compass men’s residential addiction treatment facility, located about 15 miles east of Homer, Alaska, had an open house on Saturday, July 25, 2020. The facility is slated to accept its first clients in about a week. (Photo courtesy Lindsey Cashman)
Residential addiction treatment facility for men opens outside Homer

Men from the Homer area and beyond seeking recovery from addiction can… Continue reading

Most Read