Anchorage Assembly meeting canceled after 2 in Bronson administration test positive for COVID

A group of girls testifying in opposition to the proposed Anchorage mask mandate lead a crowd in singing the National Anthem on Thursday, Oct. 7, 2021. The Anchorage Assembly canceled Friday’s meeting after members came into close contact on Thursday with two members of Mayor Dave Bronson’s administration who tested positive for COVID-19. (Wesley Early/Alaska Public Media)

Two members of Mayor Dave Bronson’s administration have tested positive for COVID-19, prompting Anchorage Assembly leadership to cancel their Friday meeting, according to a statement from the Assembly.

The Bronson administration told the Assembly on Friday that all members present at Thursday’s meeting have come into “really close contact” with the two individuals who tested positive, said the Assembly’s statement.

The Anchorage Daily News reported that the two staffers who tested positive were Municipal Manager Amy Demboski and Municipal Attorney Patrick Bergt.

Both of them were vaccinated, the mayor’s spokesman, Corey Allen Young, said.

The positive COVID-19 cases come as the state is entrenched in one of the nation’s worst COVID-19 outbreaks, and as the Anchorage Assembly continues to hear days of combative public testimony about a proposed mask mandate.

Anchorage Assembly Jamie Allard addresses the rest of the Assembly, concerned that she would not be allowed to ask questions of the public. She’s seated by municipal manager Amy Demboski (left) and Mayor Dave Bronson. (Wesley Early/Alaska Public Media)

Thursday’s meeting was the sixth day of comments. Assembly members Meg Zaletel, Pete Petersen, Chris Constant and Austin Quinn-Davidson all attended the meeting by phone. Other members attended in person. Jamie Allard and Crystal Kennedy, members who represent Eagle River, did not wear masks. The majority of Bronson’s team was also without masks during the meeting, as was most of the audience.

Hundreds of people have participated in recent Assembly meetings. On Thursday, many of the attendees were children too young to be vaccinated, who did not wear masks, brought to testify against the proposed masking ordinance. Adam Trombley, the director of the office of economic and community development, removed a plexiglass barrier on the dais where people stood to testify.

Both Bronson and the Assembly released statements late Friday afternoon about the COVID-19 infections.

“The senior administration is following Municipality of Anchorage COVID-19 protocols and will not be attending tonight’s scheduled Assembly meeting in person,” said Bronson’s statement.

The Assembly’ statement said: “Even though most Assembly members were wearing masks and are vaccinated, and thus are more protected from contracting COVID-19, Assembly leadership feels it is in the best interest of the safety of the public, staff, administration, and Assembly members to cancel tonight’s continued meeting.”

This story has been updated with the names of the city officials who tested positive.

Alaska Public Media

Alaska Public Media is our partner station in Anchorage. KTOO collaborates with partners across the state to cover important news and to share stories with our audiences.

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