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Juneau Positive is First COVID-19 Case for SEARHC

SITKA – On Tuesday, April 1, Dr. Anne Zink, State of Alaska Chief Medical Officer, announced another confirmed coronavirus (COVID-19) case in the community of Juneau. This was the 24th confirmed case in the Southeast region and the first confirmed at a SouthEast Alaska Regional Health Consortium (SEARHC) facility.

The confirmed patient was seen by providers virtually and testing was performed at the alternate testing site. The patient was immediately sent home to self-isolate. There are currently 143 confirmed cases in the State of Alaska.

“Positive COVID-19 cases became a reality in Southeast on March 17, and with yesterday’s announcement, they became a reality for SEARHC,” said SEARHC Vice President and Chief Medical Officer Dr. Elliot Bruhl. “As an organization, we have been preparing for when COVID-19 would reach our network, not if COVID-19 would reach our network. SEARHC will continue to follow the framework constructed by our Incident Command System (ICS) and implement planned precautions throughout the Consortium.”

While certain non-emergent services have been suspended due to the pandemic, core services remain open across the SEARHC Care Network, including primary care and hospital services. Primary care locations in Juneau, Sitka, Wrangell, Haines and Klawock have implemented alternate testing sites, allowing patients to schedule “drive-by” testing appointments to limit contamination and expedite service. Primary Care and Behavioral health introduced virtual appointments to reduce close-contact, while SEARHC Pharmacy locations have implemented delivery and curbside pick-up options for prescriptions.

Patients with chronic illnesses, or considered high-risk, should contact their provider immediately if they show symptoms (fever and cough, or shortness of breath). Low-risk patients are urged to self-isolate should they become sick.

Continued adherence to virus preventive practices is recommended by the Centers for Disease Control, including frequent hand washing for the recommended 20 seconds; covering of coughs and sneezes with a tissue; cleaning and disinfecting frequently touched surfaces and objects; and getting an influenza vaccination. SEARHC encourages residents to follow all local, state and federal mandates and practice social distancing. Visit covid19.searhc.org for the latest coronavirus information, or to find the provider nearest you.