Alaska health department issues advisory for travelers returning from other countries and states

Alaska flight 64 takes off from Petersburg airport in July of 2018. (Joe Viechnicki/KFSK)

Update (Wednesday, March 18, 2:21 p.m.) — Abbey Collins, Alaska Public Media

State officials are taking additional steps to slow the spread of COVID-19 from people traveling to the state. (Read more)

Original story

The Alaska Department of Health and Social Services issued an advisory Sunday recommending Alaskans returning to the state from other countries and other states practice varying degrees of isolation to halt the spread of coronavirus.

It classifies returning travelers in two categories: higher risk and medium risk. It recommends different isolation considerations for each group.

It defines higher risk travelers as those returning to Alaska within 14 days from the time they left an area with “widespread, ongoing community spread” of coronavirus such as Europe, China and other countries classified as Level 3 by the CDC.

Higher risk travelers returning to the state should:

  • Stay home and avoid contact with other household members.
  • Contact their employer and stay home from work or school for a 14-day period after they return.

It defines medium risk travelers as those returning to Alaska within 14 days from anywhere Outside, including the rest of the United States.

Medium risk travelers returning to Alaska should:

  • Discuss their work situation with their employer before returning to work.
  • Minimize contact with people as much as possible, self-monitor and practice social distancing.

“This may mean not going to work or school if you cannot safely be distanced from others – especially if you traveled in a location where community transmission is occurring,” the health recommendation said.

The department issued the following guidance for higher and medium risk returning travelers:

  • Take your temperature with a thermometer two times a day and monitor for fever. Also watch for cough or trouble breathing.
  • Do not take mass transportation during the time you are practicing social distancing.
  • Avoid crowded places (such as shopping centers and movie theaters) and limit your activities in public.
  • Keep your distance from others (about 6 feet or 2 meters).
  • If you get sick with fever (>100.3°F), cough, or shortness of breath, please call your health care provider.
  • If you seek medical care for other reasons, such as dialysis, call ahead to your doctor and tell them about your recent travel.


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