Kodiak officials lowered the community’s COVID-19 risk level following several weeks of low case counts.
Kodiak is now in the “green” status, Emergency Operations Director Mike Tvenge said on Thursday.
Green means any business or activity is limited to 50% capacity, as calculated from the fire marshal’s capacity load.
Kodiak was last in the green risk level at the end of October.
“This movement to green risk level by no means says we have stopped the virus. We still have active case counts in Kodiak and the rest of the state. But right now, our risk is reduced and the Emergency Services Council would like to acknowledge this,” Tvenge said.
“It actually feels a little odd to move into green because we’ve been in red or yellow for so long.”
As of Thursday, there were four active cases in Kodiak, with no new cases announced. No one is hospitalized. Cases in Kodiak peaked in early December, and five people died from the virus. But they’ve declined ever since.
“This means COVID-19 currently presents a lower risk to the community. The virus spread is either low or contained. Contact tracing capacity is sufficient or reduced, and hospitals are able to manage the current number of COVID-19 cases” Tvenge said.
“We are still experiencing COVID in the state. People are traveling. We still have a few active cases here in Kodiak, but this is the time to roll back the risk level because of our current case count.”
Tvenge said the mask requirement is still in effect if the school, store, office or business requires mask wearing. Safeway and Walmart, for instance, will continue to require mask wearing as a matter of corporate policy.
“Masks are proven to reduce the spread and are a reason we have achieved these low numbers. I recommend we continue to wear a mask,” Tvenge said.
Exceptions to the capacity restriction include medical facilities, travel for critical personal need or essential service, child care services, homeless shelters, educational institutions, government agencies and critical infrastructure services such as public utility services. Seafood processors operate under the state-required mandates.
The state health emergency declaration, which was renewed on Jan. 15, is set to expire on Feb. 14. Gov. Mike Dunleavy said he will not renew it, waiting instead for the state Legislature to do so.
Tvenge said Kodiak will stick with its own declared local health emergency “until it is no longer needed.”
He added that Kodiak officials would be meeting with state officials to determine how much vaccine would be coming here. Announcements about mass vaccination clinics would follow, he said.
The EOC has already conducted one such clinic, where 120 people got the jab. There will be another on Feb. 19 for those people to get second doses.
Vaccine appointments opened up for more Alaskans on Wednesday. School staff of any age, seafood workers over the age of 50, anyone over the age of 50 with high-risk health conditions and a whole slew of others are now eligible to get the vaccine.
Visit covidvax.alaska.gov or call 907-646-3322. Kodiak vaccine distributors are KANA, Kodiak Island Ambulatory Care Center, Safeway, Kodiak Community Health Center and, beginning today, Walmart.
As of Thursday, 116,228 Alaskans have received at least one dose of either the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine, both of which require a second dose, while 51,204 have gotten both doses.
On Thursday, the Department of Health and Social Services announced no new deaths and 145 new people identified with COVID-19 in Alaska.
Of these, 134 were residents: 62 in Anchorage, 15 in Wasilla, 13 in Palmer, 10 in Fairbanks, seven in Eagle River, seven Kusilvak Census Area, four in Bethel Census Area, two in Bethel, two in Juneau, two in Ketchikan, and one each in Chugiak, Cordova, Haines, Homer, Hooper Bay, North Pole, Northwest Arctic Borough, Petersburg, Salcha and Yukon-Koyukuk Census Area.
Eleven new nonresident cases were also identified. Six were in the seafood industry in Unalaska, three others were in Aleutians East Borough in the seafood industry and two in Fairbanks, with purposes under investigation.