Claire Stremple, KTOO - Juneau

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A woman poses for a photograph inside while wearing a teal jacket and face mask.

Alaska scrambles to spend nearly $100M in federal child care relief as centers close

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The state received about $95 million from the federal government this spring to address the child care crunch. So far, the state has written a grant program to distribute only $5 million of that statewide.
A white woman in a white blazer sits at a child's desk on a laptop in a classroom

Alaska has a teacher retention problem. The state is ready to pay someone to help solve it.

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The state’s education department calls the lack of teachers in Alaska an emergency issue and says the pandemic is only making things worse. It’s willing to pay up to $300,000 to figure out how to attract — and keep — more teachers in the state.

COVID-19 crisis at Alaska’s city hospitals has big rural impacts

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When patients wait in the emergency room until an inpatient bed opens up it is called “boarding,” and state officials say it’s happening more often as the health system sags under the weight of COVID-19 cases.
sign on a window says "masking required"

Masking and capacity restrictions slowed the Delta variant in Juneau, expert says

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In late July, Juneau brought its mask mandate back, and in early August it limited capacity at bars and restaurants among other restrictions. King says what happened next looks like a data confirmation that those mitigation mandates work.

400 health care workers on their way to help fight Alaska’s COVID-19 surge

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Gov. Mike Dunleavy painted a stark picture of the state’s COVID-19 woes as a surge in cases of the Delta variant put hospitals in crisis mode.

COVID hospitalizations in Alaska are at an all-time high

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Nearly a dozen more people were admitted to the state’s overwhelmed hospitals Tuesday, where 1 in 5 patients are sick with the virus.
A person wearing a gown and gloves holds a bag full of blood.

Alaska blood bank says nationwide shortage highlights local need: ‘We’re pretty much on our own’

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Blood Bank of Alaska says the blood shortage in the state was critical earlier this month. Since then, donations have been coming in, but the nonprofit says it’s still low on the life-saving fluid.
A woman sits outside in a t-shirt holding a baby.

Alaskans wait for vital records as state health department gets back online after cyberattack

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It’s been three months since a cyberattack crippled the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services’ online systems. And for Alaskans who need vital records — things like birth, death and marriage certificates — that has put things on hold.
Two whale tales in blue-gray water.

Southeast Alaska whales bouncing back after marine heat wave

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Remember “the blob?” That two-year heat wave had a three-year hangover: The humpback population stayed low until 2020. But lately, there's a glimmer of hope in the dat.
People walk on a dock, with a cruise ship in the background.

Cruise ships returned to Southeast Alaska, but don’t call it a comeback

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The year before the pandemic, Alaska set record numbers for cruise ship tourism. This year, it’s estimated Juneau will see about 10% of its usual cruise traffic.
A glacier and snowy mountain with hikers.

Mendenhall Glacier’s retreat is exposing new land. The Forest Service doesn’t want it to be mined.

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In 1952, the Forest Service took the land around the Mendenhall Glacier off the table for mining. Now there’s a strip of land exposed by the shrinking glacier.
A woman sits in a hospital room wearing a face mask, face shield and gown.

As Juneau’s COVID cases skyrocket, hospital staff are testing positive too

Bartlett Regional Hospital in Juneau is seeing more COVID-19 cases among its staff as the number of infections in the capital city rises and the community's risk level returns to high.
A dock with a red building on the side

After dodging the worst of pandemic, Hoonah hopes it can handle cruise ships safely

The first large cruise ship in nearly two years arrived in Alaska at the end of July. It marks the return of the region’s biggest source of tourism, which lost an estimated $3 billion and 40,000 jobs during the pandemic hiatus.
A blue cruise ship in front of a large mountain

How Alaska cruise towns are handling COVID-19 arriving on ships

The cruise tourism restart after a nearly two-year hiatus is bringing hope for a revived economy, but also concerns about the safety of the tourists and Alaskans alike.
A blue cruise ship in front of a large mountain

It happened: Someone on a large cruise ship in Juneau has tested positive for COVID-19

A city official says the individual did not circulate in Juneau as a tourist, but will leave the capital city by air ambulance. The city is working with the cruise lines and the state’s health department to respond.

Juneau asks residents to mask up indoors again

Masks are required in City and Borough of Juneau facilities effective immediately due to recent increases in COVID-19 cases. In the rest of the city, masks are optional, but the city is encouraging them after it reported 150 cases over the weekend.
Two monitors with a webcam on a cart

Alaska patients have reduced access to out-of-state telehealth appointments as emergency declarations end

Pandemic-era licensing waivers went away with the governor’s emergency order. It left some Seattle hospitals scrambling to reschedule Alaska patients.
Houses up next to a hillside

At home in an avalanche path: Why Juneauites buy and keep homes in a hazard zone

Dozens of sought-after Juneau homes are built in an avalanche path. And decades of studies have pointed to the very real possibility of a big, destructive slide in the neighborhood’s future.
a woman sits at a desk behind a reception counter

A pandemic rule change could make it easier to get treatment for opioid addiction in Alaska

Alaska doctors have temporary permission from the state to use telehealth to prescribe a controlled, but life-saving drug used to treat opioid addiction. State officials say they’d like to make the change permanent.
A woman in a plaid shirt poses for a photograph in the woods.

Airport project in Gustavus continues despite residents’ concerns about contamination

While the state's additional testing showed high levels of PFAS chemicals, plans for the project have hardly changed to the frustration of some residents of a small Southeast community.