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City responds to rising COVID-19 cases with new restrictions

Graph from CBJ COVID-19 dashboard showing cumulative COVID-19 cases in Juneau by day of onset of symptoms. (Data from Alaska Department of Health & Social Services)Updated post

As Juneau’s number of positive COVID-19 cases trends upward, new policies are taking effect to control the spread. 

The local risk assessment is currently moderate. That means starting Friday at noon, bars and gyms will be limited to half capacity and indoor group gatherings must be kept to fewer than 50 people. 

During a briefing Wednesday, City Manager Rorie Watt said younger people, specifically people in their 20s and 30s, continue to see higher levels of positive cases statewide. That’s one reason bars are a concern. 

“We have not had a big bar-related spreading event, but we’re concerned that that’s an area of risk for us and rather than wait to see if it happens, we think the prudent course for the community is to be more careful in those types of settings,” Watt said. 

Watt said city staff will perform courtesy visits to bars and other businesses to distribute masks and information about the new measures. 

They’re hoping people comply voluntarily to avoid a situation like the one in Anchorage, where bars closed down completely this month due to the high number of cases attributed to  community spread. 

But in Juneau, only a small portion of recent cases has been attributed to community spread. Large-scale outbreaks like the ones at Kensington Mine and Alaska Glacier Seafoods, which are considered secondary transmission, have accounted for a large portion of the recent cases. 

Deputy City Manager Mila Cosgrove said during a briefing Thursday there have also been recent outbreaks at family gatherings like funerals and weddings. 

She urged community members to continue observing social distancing. 

“Especially large family gatherings, where people feel maybe a little more inclined to let their guard down, maybe make their social bubble a little bit bigger,” Cosgrove said. “We really urge members of the community to understand the risk that is associated with that and really keep their social bubbles as small as possible.”

The city will now hold COVID-19 updates over Zoom and Facebook Live every Thursday at noon. The public can submit questions at least a day in advance by email. 

Juneau is reporting 54 active cases of COVID-19. Six new cases were reported Wednesday.

Original post

The City and Borough of Juneau will hold weekly community updates Thursdays at noon, beginning today.

City Manager Rorie Watt and other members of the city’s emergency operations center will provide information about the COVID-19 response in Juneau and answer questions.

Community members can submit questions, but the deadline for this week has passed. For future weeks, the city is asking community members to submit questions by noon each Wednesday at COVIDquestions@juneau.org.

Juneau has seen an increase in the number of new cases reported over the past month, and the city recently introduced new COVID-19 risk metrics and mitigation strategies to help respond quickly to changing pandemic conditions.

Watch on Zoom, Facebook Live or here once the meeting is live. You can also call the city to listen by phone.

Note: This story has been updated.

COVID-19 Community Update, August 20, 2020

Join City Manager Rorie Watt and members of CBJ’s Emergency Operations Center for a COVID-19 Community Update. Learn about the status of the disease in Juneau and hear answers to questions community members have emailed in. Watch here, or join on Zoom https://juneau.zoom.us/j/98563085159, or call 1-346-248-7799 or 1-669-900-6833 or 1-253-215-8782; webinar ID: 985 6308 5159.

Posted by City and Borough of Juneau on Thursday, August 20, 2020


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