Juneau just had its highest new COVID-19 case rate ever

Update | 9:37 p.m.

The Juneau Assembly unanimously reenacted its emergency measures to combat COVID-19. They are now in effect until Oct. 31. 

The measures were adopted with one last-minute change based on a suggestion in public testimony. The Assembly decided to ditch the possibility of $25 fines for breaking the rules. 

Original story | 10:45 a.m.

A graph from the July 26, 2021, weekly report on COVID-19 from the Juneau Emergency Operations Center. (Image from City and Borough of Juneau report)

In Juneau, there were more new cases of COVID-19 identified in the two weeks that ended on Sunday than any other two weeks since testing and tracking began.

That’s according to Deputy City Manager Mila Cosgrove’s latest weekly report on COVID-19 in the capital city.

People who were fully vaccinated accounted for 30% of those cases. The rest were among the unvaccinated, who reported worse symptoms. Two people are in the hospital with active cases.

Cosgrove’s report said the state Division of Public Health is beginning to have difficulty with timely contact tracing. It’s a key public health tool for containing the spread.

The Juneau Assembly will consider reenacting its emergency measures to combat COVID-19 at a special meeting Wednesday evening.

The emergency measures in effect now in Juneau are set to expire on Saturday. These are the rules that ratchet up and down with the community’s COVID-19 risk level about masking, how many people can get together and how businesses operate.

Just Friday, emergency officials raised the risk level from minimal to moderate, which cuts indoor capacity at restaurants, bars, gyms and personal services businesses down to half. Masks continue to be mandatory indoors and in crowds for the unvaccinated.

The emergency measures the Assembly will consider tonight include a few changes from the ones that are expiring. Under the moderate risk level, people who are fully vaccinated would be strongly encouraged to mask up indoors.

That fits with new masking guidance the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced Tuesday for people who are fully vaccinated. The CDC said it reflects what they’ve learned about the more contagious delta variant of the disease.

The CDC’s new guidance also led the executive council of the Central Council of Tlingit and Haida Indian Tribes of Alaska to go virtual with its annual Tribal Assembly. The 86th Annual Tribal Assembly convenes online on Sept. 30.

Size limits for group activities where everyone is fully vaccinated would be relaxed under the new rules.

There’d also be a new tier to the color-coded risk levels: Green, fully open. Going green hinges on one condition: when at least 97% of Juneau’s entire population can be vaccinated — though not when 97% actually are vaccinated. Since the end of April, the goal had been to hit a community-wide vaccination level of 70%. Vaccination rates plateaued this summer a few percentage points short of that goal.

As proposed, the new emergency measures would expire Oct. 31. Adopting emergency legislation like this requires at least six of the nine Assembly members to vote yes.

A graph from the July 26, 2021, weekly report on COVID-19 from the Juneau Emergency Operations Center. (Image from City and Borough of Juneau report)

Jeremy Hsieh

Local News Reporter, KTOO

I dig into questions about the forces and institutions that shape Juneau, big and small, delightful and outrageous. What stirs you up about how Juneau is built and how the city works?

Read next

Site notifications
Update notification options
Subscribe to notifications