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Press Release #1: Seward Prepares for Coronavirus

Post Date:03/09/2020 10:30 AM
PRESS RELEASE

For Immediate Release                                                                                          Release # CV-1
March 9, 2020

Seward Prepares For Coronavirus

Seward, Alaska - Officials from the City of Seward met last week with various community healthcare representatives and representatives from the Alaska Railroad, Cruise Ship Terminal, and Chamber of Commerce for a roundtable  discussion regarding preparations for and the coordination of response plans in the event of Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) activity in the community. 

While there are no confirmed cases in Alaska, healthcare officials from Providence Seward, Seward Community Health Center, Chugachmiut/NorthStar, Public Health, Seward Volunteer Ambulance Corps, along with EMS officials from Seward Fire and Police Departments recommend following the guidelines set forth by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), which include: thoroughly wash hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds; avoid close contact with people who are sick; avoid touching your face; cover coughs and sneezes; stay home if you do not feel well; and, clean and disinfect frequently touched objects. Taking these simple precautions can mitigate exposure to the virus.

Because Seward is approximately 100 miles from the next sizeable city, residents are also advised to plan ahead and prepare their households in the event that they need to stay home for an extended period of time: build up freezers, pantries, and dry good supplies by adding a few extra items each time you shop; reach out to a friend or neighbor and make arrangements to shop for each other should one of you become ill; and, be sure to stay home if recovering from an illness for at least 24 hours without a fever and off fever-reducing medications before re-entering the public.  

The Alaska Railroad and cruise ship companies are working together to coordinate pre-screening visitors and are ramping up cleaning protocols. Local businesses in Seward and the surrounding area may consider establishing or reinforcing their own similar procedures. 

If you suspect you have been exposed or feel like you have flu or cold-like symptoms, especially if accompanied by a fever, please call ahead to your healthcare facility and speak with a nurse before visiting a clinic or hospital. 

The Alaska Department of Health and Social Services has enlisted Alaska 2-1-1 as a resource for handling the large volume of calls from the public with questions.  The 2-1-1 information referral specialists are currently equipped to take and triage such calls, and to refer callers to appropriate resources according to their current procedures. Starting today, the 2-1-1- call center staff will be supplemented with an Alaska Respond volunteer who will be in the call center and able to support the staff.  AK Respond volunteers are licensed medical professionals and will be able to lend their health care expertise to this effort. For Alaskans who live in areas where 2-1-1 cannot be accessed, please call 800-478-2221.

Contacts:
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)              www.cdc.gov
Alaska Dept. of Health & Social Services (DHSS)                www.dhss.alaska.gov
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