LISTEN: How emergency officials and first responders are preparing for coronavirus

Mayor Ethan Berkowitz, Lori Townsend, TOA, Talk of Alaska, Coronavirus, COVID-19, March 17, 2020

President Donald Trump declared a national emergency over the coronavirus pandemic. What does that mean for state emergency planners? How will community leaders need to prepare for local response? The virus has been confirmed in Alaska. How does that affect hospital emergency planning? We’ll discuss the emergency management plans for the ongoing coronavirus pandemic on the next Talk of Alaska.

HOST: Lori Townsend

  • Ethan Berkowitz, Mayor of Anchorage
  • Dr. Holly Alfrey, Chief Medical Officer, Alaska Native Medical Center
  • Kenneth Baker, Jr, Safety & Emergency Management, Providence Health & Services Alaska
  • Jeremy Zidek, Public Information Officer, Alaska Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management
  • Sean Murphy, Emergency Preparedness Program Manager, Alaska Regional Hospital


  • Connect with Providence Health & Services Alaska via chatbot or call the 24-hour nurse advice line at 907-212-6183.

Call 550-8422 (Anchorage) or 1-800-478-8255 (statewide) during the live broadcast.

Send an email to (comments may be read on air).

Post your comment before, during or after the live broadcast (comments may be read on air).

LIVE Broadcast: Tuesday, Mar. 17, 2020 at 10:00 a.m. on APRN stations statewide.
LIVE Web stream: Click here to stream.

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Lori Townsend is the News Director for the Alaska Public Radio Network. She got her start in broadcasting at the age of 11 as the park announcer of the fast pitch baseball games in Deer Park, Wisconsin. She has worked in print and broadcast journalism for more than 24 years. She was the co-founder and former Editor of Northern Aspects, a magazine featuring northern Wisconsin writers and artists. She worked for 7 years at tribal station WOJB on the Lac Courte Oreilles Ojibway Reservation in Wisconsin, first as an on-air programmer and special projects producer and eventually News Director. In 1997 she co-hosted a continuing Saturday afternoon public affairs talk program on station KSTP in St. Paul, Minnesota. Radio brought her to Alaska where she worked as a broadcast trainer for Native fellowship students at Koahnic Broadcasting. Following her work there, she helped co-found the non-profit broadcast company Native Voice Communications. NVC created the award-winning Independent Native News as well as producing many other documentaries and productions. Townsend was NVC’s technical trainer and assistant producer of INN. Through her freelance work, she has produced news and feature stories nationally and internationally for Independent Native News, National Native News, NPR , Pacifica, Monitor Radio, Radio Netherlands and AIROS. Her print work and interviews have been published in News from Indian Country, Yakama Nation Review and other publications. Ms. Townsend has also worked as a broadcast trainer for the Native American Journalist’s Association and with NPR’s Doug Mitchell and as a freelance editor. Townsend is the recipient of numerous awards for her work from the Alaska Press Club, the Native American Journalists Association and a gold and a silver reel award from the National Federation of Community Broadcasters. Townsend was the recipient of a Fellowship at the Metcalf Institute for Marine and Environmental Reporting in Rhode Island as well as a fellowship at the Knight Digital Media Center in Berkeley. She is an avid reader, a rabid gardener and counts water skiing, training horses, diving and a welding certification among her past and current interests. ltownsend (at) alaskapublic (dot) org  |  907.550.8452 | About Lori