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 COVID-19 cases come as the state is entrenched in one of the nation’s worst coronavirus outbreaks, and as the Anchorage Assembly continues to hear days of combative public testimony about a proposed mask mandate.
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/Chugiak, 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, who did not wear masks, brought to testify against the proposed masking ordinance. Some were too young to be vaccinated. 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.”