November 6, 2020 (Anchorage, AK) – Today Alaska Governor Mike Dunleavy announced that he is issuing a new 30-day Declaration of Public Health Disaster Emergency (“disaster declaration”) in response to the COVID-19 outbreak. The declaration will go into effect on 12:01 a.m. on November 16, 2020 and will expire on 11:59 p.m. on December 15, 2020.
Dunleavy’s initial March 11, 2020 disaster declaration was issued in response to the imminent threat of an outbreak of COVID-19 in Alaska, and expires in less than 10 days. The COVID-19 outbreak has not abated, nor is Alaska in a position to declare that a public health emergency does not exist. Recent conversations with legislators, health professionals, and business leaders confirm a broad consensus that it is in the state’s best interest to ensure we have an emergency declaration in place beyond November 15.
“This new disaster declaration is based upon the determination of moving from the threat of a pandemic to an actual pandemic. Given the tools the declaration will provide to the state, boroughs, and municipalities, as well as our health professionals and medical facilities, this declaration will continue to provide certainty to Alaskans during this pandemic,” said Governor Mike Dunleavy. “The Legislature has indicated they do not currently have the support of their members to call themselves into a special session. If the Legislature chooses to convene to address this new order, my administration is ready to assist in developing long-term solutions to manage this emergency and protect the public safety and health of Alaskans.”
“I want to thank Governor Dunleavy for taking this step to make sure we have the resources in place to continue our efforts to mitigate COVID-19 in Alaska,” said Adam Crum, commissioner of the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services. “The disaster declaration allows the governor to waive or suspend regulations, many of which have been used to access Federal flexibilities in the delivery of healthcare across the state, but also in how we care for and provide services to our most vulnerable populations in congregate settings and assisted living facilities. With this new disaster declaration, we will be able to continue our work supporting Alaskans at all levels as this response continues.”
“As the nature of this disease expands, we are here to support Governor Dunleavy and our DHSS partners,” said Maj. Gen. Torrence Saxe, commissioner of the Alaska Department of Military and Veterans Affairs. “We will continue to work in unified command and respond to our communities as needed. Uniformed members of the Alaska Organized Militia, including the Alaska National Guard, are prepared to respond to the needs of our communities and DHSS as requested.”
Much has been learned about this pandemic since February 2020. As a result, this declaration will be targeted for a specific 30-day period.
The declaration keeps in place the unified command structure between the Department of Health and Social Services, Department of Military and Veterans Affairs, and the Department of Public Safety, and allows other state departments to utilize all capabilities to continue to take steps to mitigate the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. The unified command will continue to support local jurisdictions and the statewide public healthcare system throughout this disaster.
Click here for additional information on the disaster declaration.
For more information on Alaska’s response to COVID-19, please visit http://coronavirus.alaska.gov.