State officials release stricter guidelines for travelers returning to Alaska

Alaska Chief Medical Officer Anne Zink talks to reporters at a press conference about the novel coronavirus on Monday, March 9, 2020, while Governor Mike Dunleavy looks on in the background. (Joey Mendolia/Alaska Public Media)

State officials are taking additional steps to slow the spread of COVID-19 from people traveling to the state.

A new health mandate issued Tuesday says people entering Alaska within 14 days of being in an area with widespread, ongoing community spread of coronavirus are considered higher risk. That includes places like China, Europe and other countries classified as Level 3 by the CDC.

The state says higher risk travelers must:

  • Stay home and avoid contact with other household members.
  • Contact your employer and do not got to work or school for the 14-day period after you return

The state defines medium risk travelers as people who have traveled anywhere outside Alaska within the past 14 days. Officials say those travelers must:

  • Stay about 6 feet away from others
  • Contact your employer and stay home from work or school if you can’t maintain a safe distance from others
  • Avoid crowded places and limit your activities in public

The health mandate comes from Governor Mike Dunleavy, Alaska Department of Health and Social Services Director Adam Crum, and Chief Medical Officer Dr. Anne Zink.

The state maintains the following guidance for higher and medium risk returning travelers:

  1. Take your temperature with a thermometer two times a day and monitor for fever. Also watch for cough or trouble breathing.
  2. Do not take mass transportation during the time you are practicing social distancing.
  3. Avoid crowded places (such as shopping centers and movie theaters) and limit your activities in public.
  4. Keep your distance from others (about 6 feet or 2 meters).
  5. If you get sick with fever (>100.3°F), cough, or shortness of breath, please call your health care provider.
  6. If you seek medical care for other reasons, such as dialysis, call ahead to your doctor and tell them about your recent travel.