Anchorage, Alaska – Thursday, the Anchorage Health Department (AHD) announced the process leading to public notification for confirmed COVID-19 exposure locations.
Anyone in close contact with someone who has COVID-19 is at increased risk of becoming infected and infecting others. Contact tracing helps prevent further transmission by quickly identifying and informing people who may be infected so they can take steps to not infect others.
An exposure location rises to the level of a public notification when a person with COVID-19 spends more than 15 minutes, while infectious in an indoor space, in which:
- More than 10 people other than household members were present;
- Physical distancing and wearing of face coverings were not or could not be universally followed; and
- All people at the location cannot be identified or contacted because:
- the location did not maintain a log of everyone present during the exposure period
- the location log is illegible or incomplete
- the person with COVID-19 is unable or unwilling to identify close contacts.
– Or –
- If AHD lacks capacity to conduct the contact tracing in a timely manner.
When an exposure location of concern is identified, AHD:
- Calls the location and notifies them of the date(s) the exposure occurred.
- Informs the location that they will receive a letter with CDC sanitization instructions and an “exposure notice” sign. The sign must be displayed in a visible area.
- Asks the location if a log of the names and phone numbers of everyone present during the exposure period, per the Municipality’s Phase 3 reopening guidelines, was maintained. If a log was maintained, AHD requests a copy to assist with contact tracing.
- If a complete and legible log was maintained that does not exceed contact tracing capacity, a public exposure notification may not be required.
- Informs the location whether a public exposure notification will be posted to reach all exposed customers at risk of infection.
AHD lists locations where it is unable to contact all persons who likely came into close contact with an infectious person, or if AHD lacks capacity to conduct the contact tracing in a timely manner. COVID-19 exposures can happen even when a location follows all recommended guidelines.
For example, AHD, which screens everyone entering its 825 L Street building, requires face coverings, limits face-to-face contact, and encourages teleworking, had two employees test positive for COVID-19. The State of Alaska Department of Health & Social Services, in these two cases, conducted the contact tracing of AHD employees who tested positive for COVID-19 to ensure confidentiality and privacy. No associated cases have been identified at AHD.
As of today, AHD identified two new exposure locations that warrant public notification:
- Eddie’s Sports Bar, exposure date: July 2, 2020
- The Blue Fox Cocktail Lounge, exposure date: July 2, 2020
Both locations have been notified of the exposure date and about being added to the Confirmed COVID-19 Exposure Locations webpage. The locations are cooperating with AHD’s recommendations. If there are no associated cases identified at these locations for 10 days after the last exposure date, the locations will be removed from the list.
In addition to the locations listed above, AHD is aware of cases associated with a variety of businesses, agencies, and organizations. If a location meets the criteria outlined above, AHD will release a public exposure notice.
With the virus spreading widely in Anchorage, it is increasingly important that everyone follows the best methods to stop COVID-19 – keeping a safe distance of six feet or more, wearing a face covering or mask in public spaces, and avoiding large crowds or gatherings – to protect ourselves, our co-workers, our customers, our family and friends, and the many vulnerable people who this disease most severely impacts.
For more information, call 2-1-1 or visit www.muni.org/COVID-19.