2 new cases bring virus total to 33

Sanders: New cases don’t represent widespread outbreak

Cordova Community Medical Center. (Oct. 12, 2020) Photo by Zachary Snowdon Smith/The Cordova Times

A recent spike in coronavirus cases likely does not mean that there is a broad outbreak in the community, said Dr. Hannah Sanders, medical director for Cordova Community Medical Center. Many of the 14 cases identified since the beginning of the month are believed to be connected, with several linked to gatherings that took place over the Oct. 3-4 weekend, officials said.

As of Wednesday, Oct. 14, the city has reported 33 cases of the virus overall, of which 20 cases have been Cordova residents and 13 have been non-residents. Of those 33 cases, 20 are confirmed to have recovered. There have been no coronavirus cases requiring hospitalization.

Equipped with three ventilators, high-flow nasal cannulas and an ample supply of oxygen, CCMC’s nurses and physicians are ready to meet the community’s health care needs, Sanders said.

“The hospital is very well prepared now,” Sanders said. “As we see the numbers increase, we certainly want people to exercise extra caution … But I’m hopeful that people’s behaviors have changed, and the cases will begin to decrease over the next two weeks.”

Public health officials have asked community members to avoid confined spaces and crowded settings, in addition to observing the now-commonplace admonitions to wear masks and regularly wash hands. Anyone who has had close contact with someone who has tested positive for the virus is required to quarantine for 14 days from the last time they had contact with the infected person, according to a city announcement. It is recommended that testing be done between day five and day 14 of their quarantine. A negative coronavirus test does not nullify this obligation to quarantine, according to the announcement.

“In the past, Cordova has been able to contain the spread, and I’m hopeful that we can do it again,” Sanders said. “Our ability to keep our community and our schools open depends on everybody in the community working together.”

The city declared a level-three public health alert Oct. 7. Under a level-three alert, the city requests the community undertake voluntary measures to prevent virus spread, but does not require business closures or other such restrictions.

City officials also recommended that anyone who displays shortness of breath or a fever contact a health care provider, and that anyone who feels sick seek testing for the virus. COVID-19 testing is available at Ilanka Community Health Center on Mondays and Fridays from 2-3 p.m. and on Saturdays from noon-1 p.m.; and at Cordova Community Medical Center on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays from 9-9:30 a.m. There may be a fee associated with testing.

Cordova’s spike in infections has occurred during an Alaska-wide coronavirus surge that has pushed the state’s cumulative case count to over 11,000.