COVID-19 daily update:
March 26, 2020
4/1/20 COVID-19 Update
Mayor Steve Prysunka and Borough Manager Lisa Von Bargen hosted a brief teleconference, on Wed., April 1, to share pertinent information regarding the COVID-19 pandemic with the public. There are still no confirmed cases of the virus in Wrangell as of this date, Prysunka said. However, this is not cause for relaxation.
Von Bargen said she was recently part of a teleconference with other city managers across Alaska, along with representatives from FEMA and the Department of Homeland Security. She said, according to those representatives, the very best thing everyone can do to mitigate the risk of COVID-19 spreading is to continue to practice good hygiene, socially distance, and self-isolate as much as possible.
“Please, please, I urge everyone, stay vigilant,” she said.
Prysunka added that it was especially important for Wrangell to “flatten the curve” and keep the virus off the island as much as possible. Wrangell is an island, he said, and the supplies and resources on hand are limited. For everyone’s safety, people needed to keep treating the pandemic like an emergency, even if it goes on for some time and the sense of urgency might diminish.
“We are trying to be as prepared as we can, but every day is a new challenge,” he said.
During the update, Prysunka added some new measures the city is taking to protect itself.
A moratorium has been placed on Alaska Crossings, Sea Level Seafoods and the Forest Service from bringing in any new seasonal employees until May 1. All parties agreed upon this decision, he said, and will be reviewed around mid-April. Von Bargen added that the state was also requiring out-of-state workforces to submit a travel plan before entering Alaska.
Mayor Steve Prysunka and Borough Manager Lisa Von Bargen went on radio station KSTK last evening, March 30, to provide a brief community update on the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The mayor and Borough Manager have been trying to provide daily community updates, to make sure the public is informed during this time. There are currently no confirmed cases of the virus in Wrangell, according to Prysunka.
Von Bargen wanted to share with the public new travel mandates issued by Governor Mike Dunleavy, limiting interstate travel to only those who need to travel for essential needs or services, or if they are part of the essential workforce. Essential travel could include medical visits, or going to get supplies for one's family, she said. Prysunka added that the city of Wrangell has recommended that anyone coming into town self-quarantine for two weeks.
Also during this update, Von Bargen spoke about the differences between "shelter in place" and "self-quarantine." Sheltering in place, she said, is a recommendation by authorities for everyone to stay at home and socially distance themselves as much as possible. People can still leave their homes to get exercise or to go out and buy groceries, she gave as examples, but to try and keep 6-feet of distance between themselves and other people. Self-quarantine, however, means that people are advised to stay in their homes for two weeks, no matter what. Anyone undergoing a self-quarantine is advised to call friends, family, or even the city to get help on getting necessities like groceries.