I, Mike Dunleavy, Governor of the State of Alaska, under the authority of Article III, Sections 1 and 24, Constitution of the State of Alaska, find and direct the following:
Recently, the United States Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has determined that COVID-19, a respiratory disease that can result in serious illness or death and that is a new strain of coronavirus not previously identified in humans, poses a significant public health risk.
Further, the CDC has classified the public health threat posed by COVID-19 as “high”, both globally and in the United States, and has advised that COVID-19 will continue to occur globally and in the United States.
Accordingly, the United States Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar declared a public health emergency for COVID-19 on January 31, 2020, retroactively applicable to January 27, 2020.
Currently, we are not aware of any diagnosed cases of COVID-19 in Alaska, but in anticipation of possible cases, and in order to ensure that Alaska’s public is educated about the public health risk, I issue this Order.
I direct the Department of Health and Social Services to establish, coordinate, and manage an information management structure to monitor COVID-19 developments, provide public health information, make recommendations for further responses, and implement actions to address the COVID-19 outbreak. Further, I direct the Department of Health and Social Services to consider its current statutory authority should it be necessary to implement public health measures under AS 18.15.355 – 18.15.385, and direct that it shall do so, as necessary, to address public health and safety.
This Order is to alert all departments, agencies, officials, and state entities to the seriousness of COVID-19, and of the need to stay informed and comply with official state, national, and global health directives.
All state departments, officials, and public corporations are to treat requests from the Department of Health and Social Services and the Chief Medical Officer, related to preparation and responses to the COVID-19 outbreak, as of the highest priority. All State departments, officials, and public corporations are further directed to use available resources and take actions reasonably necessary to implement steps recommended by the Department of Health and Social Services to address COVID-19.
The Department of Military and Veterans’ Affairs is instructed to consider possible recommendations to the Governor, in consultation with the Department of Health and Social Services, regarding potential further action to protect public health and safety.
This Order takes effect immediately.
DATED at Juneau, Alaska on this 9th day of March 2020.