Lawmakers push Dunleavy For ‘comprehensive’ coronavirus mitigation

Rep. Tiffany Zulkosky, D-Bethel, speaks during a House floor session in the Capitol in Juneau on March 16, 2020. Zulkosky and 11 lawmakers drafted a letter to Dunleavy calling on him to implement a more rigorous coronavirus response. (Photo by Skip Gray/KTOO)

A group of lawmakers sent a letter to the governor last week demanding a comprehensive mitigation plan for the coronavirus pandemic. But Gov. Mike Dunleavy says he already has one.

Rep. Tiffany Zulkosky, a Bethel Democrat, recently heard health experts testify about the pandemic response during a meeting of the House Health and Social Services committee, which she chairs.

“And all of the data they had indicated is showing that Alaska is headed in the wrong direction with response to the COVID-19 pandemic,” Zulkosky said.

A letter to Gov. Dunleavy requesting a coronavirus mitigation plan was signed by several district representatives in Alaska.

Zulkosky and 11 other lawmakers drafted a letter to Dunleavy calling on him to implement a more rigorous coronavirus response. In the letter, lawmakers suggest the governor limit group gatherings, institute a statewide mask mandate in places where people can’t physically distance and restrict capacity indoors in public spaces.

“There’s a lot of conversation about the data that they’re collecting, but there’s not a lot of conversation around how that data is driving decision making within the administration,” Zulkosky said.

The lawmakers also want Dunleavy to increase transparency over how the administration is using the data it’s collecting. To do that, lawmakers say there should be metrics that communities can use when deciding how to protect their residents. But Dunleavy says that the current mandates in place are sufficient for now.

A statement sent to KYUK from the governor’s office said, “Gov. Dunleavy ha[s] made it clear the mitigation strategy will be reviewed and amended based on the data.”

KYUK - Bethel

KYUK is our partner station in Bethel. KTOO collaborates with partners across the state to cover important news and to share stories with our audiences.

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