DHSS March 13 COVID-19 Health Alert: Recommendations for Keeping Communities Safe

Seal of the State of Alaska


Issued March 13, 2020

By: Dr. Anne Zink, Chief Medical Officer, State of Alaska

DHSS strongly advises that all Alaskans read and comply with the following CDC guidance for workplaces, schools, homes, and commercial establishments:

Practice good hygiene:

  • Stop handshaking – use other noncontact methods of greeting.
  • Clean hands at the door and schedule regular hand washing reminders by email.
  • Create habits and reminders to avoid touching their faces and cover coughs and sneezes.
  • Disinfect surfaces like doorknobs, tables, desks, and handrails regularly.
  • Increase ventilation by opening windows when able.

Be careful with meetings and events:

  • Use videoconferencing for meetings when possible.
  • When videoconferencing not possible, hold meetings in open, well-ventilated spaces.
  • Consider adjusting or postponing large meetings or gatherings.

Special travel considerations:

  • Assess the risks of travel including the location and rapidly changing events.
  • At risk individuals and communities with limited health care infrastructure or high-risk populations should considering limiting all non-essential travel.

Handle food carefully:

  • Limit food sharing.
  • Strengthen health screening for staff working with food and their close contacts.
  • Ensure staff working with food and their close contacts practice strict hygiene.

Special consideration for businesses:

  • Use booking and scheduling to stagger customer flow.
  • Use online transactions where possible.
  • Consider limiting attendance at larger gatherings.
  • Promote tap and pay to limit handling of cash.

For transportation businesses, taxis, and ride shares:

  • Keep windows open when possible.
  • Increase ventilation.
  • Regularly disinfect surfaces.
  • Encourage social distancing during rides.

If you don’t feel well:

  • Stay at home if you are feeling sick.
  • Do not go to work, out in public or around others if you have a fever and for 72 hours after your last fever.
  • Consider staying at home if you have a sick family member in your home.

Households with sick family members are recommended to:

  • Give sick members their own room if possible, and keep the door closed.
  • Have only one family member care for them.
  • Consider providing additional protections or more intensive care for household members over 65 years old or with underlying conditions.

Households with vulnerable seniors or those with significant underlying conditions:

Significant underlying conditions include heart, lung, kidney disease; diabetes; and conditions that suppress the immune system.

  • Have the healthy people in the household conduct themselves as if they were a significant risk to the person with underlying conditions. For example, wash hands frequently before interacting with the person, such as by feeding or caring for the person.
  • If possible, provide a protected space for vulnerable household members.
  • Ensure all utensils and surfaces are cleaned regularly.


These recommendations are based on the CDC’s guidance, which can be found here: www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/specific-groups/high-risk-complications.html

This is not a mandate. 


State of Alaska Health Alerts are posted to the DHSS COVID-19 website at coronavirus.alaska.gov.