Watch: Gov. Mike Dunleavy speaks about COVID-19 pandemic, emergency declarations at press conference

Published: Dec. 15, 2020 at 5:35 PM AKST
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - At a press conference Tuesday, Gov. Mike Dunleavy addressed questions about the COVID-19 pandemic, vaccinations and the emergency disaster in Southeast Alaska.

The governor said COVID-19 cases were leveling off, noting that numbers reported on Tuesday are much lower than the past several weeks.

Alaska received its first doses of a COVID-19 vaccine on Sunday, with frontline health care workers, long-term care facility staff, emergency medical services and firefighters receiving vaccinations first.

“These vaccinations are going to be a game-changer,” Dunleavy said at the press conference Tuesday. He said he was personally going to get a vaccination, likely in the next two weeks.

The governor said he planned to issue a COVID-19 public health emergency disaster declaration to last for another 30 days on top of the last issued declaration.

At the end of the press conference, Dunleavy’s office sent out a press release saying the governor has signed a declaration of public health disaster emergency that goes into effect on Wednesday and will be in place until Jan. 15 unless amended.

Alaska Chief Medical Officer Dr. Anne Zink said Alaska was somewhat on a downward trend with COVID-19 cases but that varied depending on data reporting from community partners.

“We have multiple disasters occurring here in Alaska at the same time,” Dunleavy said at the start of the press conference while speaking about the heavy rainfall in Southeast Alaska and the pandemic.

Alaska Department of Military and Veterans Affairs Commissioner Torrence Saxe, who handled emergency response in Southeast Alaska, said many are still be sheltered at the school and friend’s homes after rapid rainfall and flooding in Haines, Alaska. Several other communities in the region also reported damage including Hoonah, Wrangell and Tenakee Springs.

COVID-19 press briefing

Watch live: Gov. Mike Dunleavy and his team are discussing the state's COVID-19 vaccination plan, public health emergency declaration and an update on the heavy rains and landslides that impacted several Southeast Alaska communities earlier this month.

Posted by Alaska's News Source on Tuesday, December 15, 2020

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