On today’s edition of The Lowdown, city manager Mike Tvenge, borough manager Michael Powers and fire chief Jim Mullican sat down to talk about Kodiak’s coronavirus prevention measures and strategies. The biggest takeaways should sound familiar by now — practice good hygiene and stay separated from others as much as possible.
“The only way to slow the coronavirus, like any pandemic, is social distancing,” said Powers.
According to government health agencies, social distancing is the one of the best ways to so-called “flatten the curve,” meaning, slow the spread of the pandemic enough that hospitals don’t become overloaded with new cases.
On Tuesday, Governor Mike Dunleavy announced all restaurants and bars would be closing for dine-in service, though takeout and delivery are still allowed. Powers and Tvenge also announced a number of closures in the city and borough aimed at keeping people from picking up the virus from others who may have been exposed already.
“As far as daily operations they do go on, we have taken some actions already to limit access to the bureau building,” said Powers. “We’re also working on limiting exposure of our employees and the public at the landfill. And we have closed down KFRC (the touch tank) for the exact same reason.”
“We’ve closed some facilities to the public,” said Tvenge. “The library, the Teen Center, the swimming pool, the ice rink, etc.”
One of the biggest challenges of the pandemic has been handling child care for parents who aren’t able to stay home. Powers says the borough is working on mitigating the problem for government employees, but still expects it to be an economic blow for the community.
“We’re working with the Baptist Mission and anyone else that’s working on child care to try to make sure that child care is available so people can get to work,” he said, adding, “This is going to have huge financial impacts on our country. We’re working to try to minimize those at the local level to the extent possible, while at the same time trying to keep everyone separated. It’s quite a challenge.”
Fire chief Jim Mullican also says that while Kodiak has supplies to test suspected cases of coronavirus, it is essential that people call their health care providers first to see if they need to be tested, instead of going straight to the hospital and risk infecting others.
“We have the ability to perform the sampling here on the island. [Kodiak’s healthcare provider work group is] working on ensuring that they have enough to meet our needs,” he said. “Currently, there is not wide-based testing, we’re not testing every citizen. That’s why they need to contact their healthcare provider. And the decisions will be made between the patient and the healthcare provider as to where they’re going to go, whether or not they need to be tested.”
Wednesday at 6 p.m. the city and borough emergency services council will be holding a livestreamed conference to address frequently asked questions from the community. The stream can be found on the school district website, kibsd.org.
Tvenge, Powers and Mullican were guests on today’s edition of The Lowdown, KMXT’s daily coronavirus update show. You can listen in at 9 am every weekday, and submit questions for our guests by calling (907) 486-3181 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. Tomorrow’s (Thursday’s) guest will be from Kodiak Area Native Association.