An unprecedented surge of coronavirus cases that continues to grow in the Anchorage area prompted municipal officials on Wednesday to urge members of the public to ramp up their personal COVID-19 precautions.
Anchorage Health Department director Heather Harris acknowledged in a public health advisory issued Wednesday that eight months into the pandemic, some people may have let their guard down.
“We are on a dangerous path, and the solution is simple: Wear a mask and keep your distance from people outside of your household,” Harris said in the advisory.
The public health advisory urges people to stay home aside from getting food, going to work or recreating outside. It says that everyone should wear a mask in public while staying 6 feet from others, and that people should avoid gatherings, especially indoor gatherings, saying that “gatherings are not safe.” The city advisory also recommended that people reconsider their holiday travel plans.
Since Saturday, there have been more COVID-19 cases detected in Anchorage than in the first four months of the pandemic, health officials wrote in the advisory.
“It is important to remember that every case reported is an actual person — a mother or father, a grandparent, a neighbor, a friend, or a child,” officials wrote in the advisory. “If we continue on this path, our local hospitals could soon exceed their capacity, meaning there may not be a bed for you or your loved ones when they need it due to COVID or something else.”
Statewide, Alaska has seen unprecedented growth in COVID-19 cases, including a record 526 cases reported on Sunday alone.
Wednesday’s public health advisory was issued in conjunction with a city briefing where Acting Mayor Austin Quinn-Davidson, Harris and other city officials were joined by representatives from the business sector, including the co-owners of Lucky Wishbone and 49th State Brewing Co., as well as Bill Popp, head of the Anchorage Economic Development Corp.
Watch the briefing with Anchorage officials and business representatives in the livestream below.
This is a developing story. Check back for updates.