Valdez COVID-19 Unified Command

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Valdez COVID-19 Unified Command - News Release
For immediate release: 05/22/2020 10:00 p.m.

Valdez, AK – The community of Valdez received confirmation of its first case of COVID-19 (coronavirus disease 2019) late Friday evening. The patient is an asymptomatic male between the ages of 20 and 29. They are in isolation and following the guidance of their medical provider and public health officials. The patient, an employee of Peter Pan Seafoods, Inc., will be listed separately from the total state case count, as they are not a resident of Alaska.

While the first case in our community is concerning, the parties involved did everything right. The patient was identified as part of a routine employer screening put in place specifically to protect their workforce and our community,” said
Dr. Angela Alfaro, physician consultant to the Valdez Unified Command. “To the person who was recently diagnosed, we send our thoughts as he and his family deal with this difficult situation. To our community, keep following those good public health practices which have kept Valdez safe and healthy so far. Please continue to show compassion and kindness to others. We are all in this together.”

Upon receipt of confirmed positive results, public health officials conduct something called a contact investigation to determine where the patient has been and who they may have come into contact with over the course of the last several weeks. Following a preliminary investigation, it appears the patient has remained restricted to the Peter Pan Seafoods campus for the entire duration of their stay in Valdez. Several individuals identified as close contacts of the patient have been moved into quarantine. Representatives from Peter Pan Seafoods report thorough disinfection of the patient’s living and work spaces.

Valdez medical providers, local leaders, residents and industry partners have been preparing together over the past three months for the potential arrival of the virus. The community has done an exceptional job flattening the curve. Public health officials believe the current risk to Valdez is low due to screening and containment of this asymptomatic patient. However, based upon other communities’ experiences, additional cases may surface in Valdez in the future. Residents and visitors must continue making thoughtful and careful decisions as long as COVID-19 remains present in Alaska and beyond.

“Now is a good time to redouble our efforts around simple precautions and individual responsibility,” said Mayor Jeremy O’Neil. “Hand hygiene, physical distancing, wearing a cloth face covering, and staying home when sick go a long way. Valdez has always been an exceptional community. Our response during this time is no different. Leaning on each other is our hallmark way for getting through tough times.”

Residents and visitors are encouraged to monitor themselves for COVID-19 symptoms which include a fever, cough, sore throat, difficulty breathing, loss of taste or smell, and any new onset of illness. If you believe you have even mild symptoms, contact your healthcare provider for screening and closely follow their instructions. Remember to call ahead before you go to the doctor’s office, public health clinic, or hospital. The local medical team will continue to provide the best possible care for you and our community.

We recognize this latest development may create additional stress and uncertainty among local residents. The Unified Command and public health officials continue to closely monitor the rapidly changing course of COVID-19. We remain committed to providing information, support and resources to protect the health, safety and well-being of Valdez during this extraordinary and unprecedented time.

For additional details on this case, please view the full video announcement here: https://youtu.be/__amOhSgyTM 

(Correction (05.23.2020): Correct spelling for the epidemiologist from DHSS appearing in the video announcement is Louisa Castrodale.) 

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Contact: Allie Ferko, public information officer, Valdez Unified Command aferko@valdezak.gov, (907) 202-0711

Media video download of first Valdez case announcement: First Confirmed COVID-19 Patient in Valdez Video 
Media audio download of first Valdez case announcement: First Confirmed COVID-19 Patient in Valdez Audio

slim dividerValdez COVID-19 Health and Safety Proclamation

Valdez City Council issued a proclamation on Thursday, April 30, 2020 imploring all residents and visitors to do their part to prevent or slow the spread of the virus causing Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19).

As the state of Alaska continues to reopen, it is even more important for every individual to take personal responsibility for protecting yourself, your family, your neighbors, and our community. 

Those who visit Valdez to work or recreate are part of our community while you are here. Both residents and visitors have equal responsibility to keep Valdez safe, healthy, and kind. 

The Valdez Health and Safety Proclamation (click to view) is a call to action and outlines public health behaviors expected while living, working and playing in our beautiful city during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Proclamation contents are based upon guidance from our local medical community and public health officials, as well as guidance from Dr. Anne Zink, Alaska chief medical officer, and her team at the state level.  

A note for visitors to Valdez and our residents who travel...

The sun and warming weather have many dreaming of summer days full of fishing, hiking, and enjoying all that our state has to offer. Remember to take things slowly and carefully to continue preventing the spread of COVID-19. 

One of the most likely places for unintentional, asymptomatic transmission to occur is in an indoor space where social distancing is difficult. If you are traveling to Valdez from an area with confirmed cases of COVID-19, please avoid entering local establishments for supplies during your first two weeks in town. This is the same for both visitors from those areas and our residents who travel to those areas and then travel home.

Instead, please take advantage of the many different delivery and curbside pickup options from our local stores, restaurants and service providers. To learn more about those options, visit: www.kvakradio.com/category/business-and-non-profit-news/
If you are a boater using Valdez harbor facilities, you can also call the Valdez Harbormaster’s Office for more information.

If you plan to travel for work or personal reasons, please also familiarize yourself with the requirements for travelers and employers outlined in state health mandate 018, regarding travel within Alaska, and state health mandate 010, regarding travel into Alaska from other states and countries.

Please note, State Health Mandate 010 was extended through June 2nd. Travelers arriving in Alaska from other states or countries must continue to file a traveler declaration form with the state and complete a mandatory 14-day quarantine upon arriving in or returning to Alaska. If you are planning to drive thru Canada to reach Alaska, please make sure you confirm Canadian entry and transit requirements prior to starting your travel.   

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  1.  Information Resources
  2. Media
  3. City Council

Information Resources Related to COVID-19

Please stay informed with information from credible sources, such as:

Valdez Unified Command Weekly Situation Report
Information current as of noon on the date of posting.

Local Resources:

  • Valdez Unified Command Official Facebook Page
  • Valdez SEW Against COVID-19 Facebook Page - Know how to sew? Want to join the local volunteer effort to make cloth face coverings and other items for our community? Check out this group for ways to help.
  • Cloth Face Covering Requests - Need a cloth face covering for you or your family? Place an order with Valdez SEW Against COVID-19 for one free cloth face covering per person, while supplies last.
  • Valdez Neighbors Facebook Page - Want to volunteer to help others in the community? Need help yourself? Know others who need help? Contact the Neighbors to get connected!
  • Valdez Business Bulletin - View announcements by local businesses and organizations regarding changes to hours, operations, special offerings like delivery or curbside pick-up, or other important information. The Bulletin is a free service for our local business community sponsored by the Unified Command in partnership with KVAK Radio. 

State Resources:

Federal Resources:

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Valdez Local Disaster Declaration

Local Government Disaster Declaration (Extended) - City of Valdez, Alaska
(Extended on 05.19.2020)

Local Government Disaster Declaration (Extended) - City of Valdez, Alaska
(Extended on 04.21.2020)

Local Government Disaster Declaration (Original) - City of Valdez, Alaska 
(Originally Declared 03.17.2020)   

Valdez Local Health Mandates

Local Health Mandate 001 - Requiring Quarantine for Certain Travelers
(Approved 03.23.2020, Amended 04.21.2020, Rescinded 04.29.2020, Replaced with Health & Safety Proclamation.)
With so many exceptions to this mandate’s intrastate travel quarantine requirements, either in place or contemplated due to new state health mandates, rescinding it and replacing it with the Proclamation provides a more useful and easy to navigate way to focus on health and safety behaviors for everyone who lives, works, or plays in Valdez. 

Local Health Mandate 002 - Preserving Personal Protective Equipment
(Approved 03.25.2020, Expired 04.22.2020)

Local Health Mandate 003 - Requiring Mask or Face Coverings
(Failed due to lack of a motion 04.21.2020)

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Commercial Fisheries Information

Commercial fishing is considered a critical infrastructure industry at the federal, state and local levels. 

Commercial Fishing Vessels
All commercial fishing vessel operators, owners, and crew members must comply with federal, state, and local regulations; state and local health mandates; and procedures outlined in their individual worker/community protection plan approved by the state of Alaska.

To help ensure all requirements and expectations are clear and easy to understand by the commercial fishing fleet, a subcommittee of the Valdez Unified Command Fisheries Task Force worked together over several weeks to create a local information packet for captains. Members of the subcommittee include the Valdez harbormaster and her staff, the Port of Valdez operations manager, Valdez public health officials, multiple fishing vessel captains, representatives from commercial fishing organizations, and members of the Unified Command incident management team.

2020 City of Valdez Ports & Harbors - Commercial Fishing Vessel Captain’s COVID-19 Local Information Packet
NOTE: Quarantine requirements outlined in the captain’s packet apply to those travelers arriving from other states/countries and subject to quarantine under State Health Mandate 010.

The Commercial Fishing Vessel Captain’s Local Information Packet includes the following:

  •  General NoticeCatch Salmon, Not COVID
  •  Local Checklist for Captains
  •  Ports & Harbors Health Policy - Requirements for pre-arrival, upon arrival, while operating in Valdez, etc.
  •  Required Mutual Aid Agreement - Operators
  •  Required Mutual Aid Agreement - Small & Large Boat Owners
  •  Health Screening Forms & Questionnaire
  •  Instructional Letter from Valdez Public Health Official
  •  FAQs and Resource Links
  •  Maps of both Valdez Harbors, indicating designated quarantine slips, quarantine restroom/shower facilities, etc.

Independent fishing vessel operators must follow guidelines found in state of Alaska Health Mandate 017. 

Companies, associations, or entities representing a fleet of commercial fishing vessels must submit a Workforce & Community Protection Plan to the state of Alaska for approval under Health Mandate 010.

Please contact the Harbormaster at (907) 835-4981 or harbor@valdezak.gov with questions or for additional guidance.

Commercial Fishermen Graphic

Fish Processors & Canneries
This section of the commercial fishing industry faces unique challenges in mitigating risk for their workers and the communities in which they operate. Large workforce size, dormitory style living spaces, and damp working conditions require extra precautions.

Under state of Alaska Health Mandate 010, fish processors and canneries are required to submit a Workforce & Community Protection Plan for approval by the state.

Additionally, our two local fish processors - Peter Pan Seafoods and Silver Bay Seafoods - agreed to enhance their commitment to health and safety by partnering with the Valdez Population Health Alliance and the Valdez Unified Command to mitigate specific local concerns.

During the last week in April, both companies voluntarily committed to and signed the COVID-19 Fish Processor Agreement with the City of Valdez. Click the links below to read the agreements.

COVID-19 Fish Processor Agreement: Peter Pan Seafoods    
COVID-19 Fish Processor Agreement: Silver Bay Seafoods

S. Harbor Checkpoint

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Keep Your Bubble Small
Social (Physical) Distancing An Insightful Infographic
Call to the Community - PVMC_Valdez Unified Command
Donate PPE
Business Bulletin
Compassionate Resources in Our Community
Keep Your Bubble Small
Being Kind is...
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FAQs Opens in new window

State of Alaska Contacts

General Information: covidquestions@alaska.gov 
Alaska 211: Dial 2-1-1 or call 1.800.478.2221

State Mandates:
covid19.alaska.gov/health-mandates

Workforce/Community Protection Plans: akcovidplans@ak-prepared.com 

State Mandate 010 Traveler Declaration Forms:
Online submission: ready.alaska.gov/form 
Email submission: 2020_COVID-19@ak-prepared.com 

Local Contact

Allie Ferko, Public Information Officer
Valdez COVID-19 Unified Command

For questions or for general information, email: PIO@valdezak.gov or send a private message to www.facebook.com/ValdezUCRG

Valdez COVID-19 Recorded Hotline.
Recorded message with local information and updates.
907.835.0300

Please forward all health, symptoms or screening related questions to your physician.

For resource submissions and inquiries,
email: resources@valdezak.gov

Local agency partners or business owner/operators with questions related to your operations should email: liaison@valdezak.gov