Young issues update on COVID-19 infection

From front, Rep. Don Young and Mayor Clay Koplin. (Sept. 1, 2020) Photo by Zachary Snowdon Smith/The Cordova Times

Rep. Don Young, R-Alaska, said he indeed tested positive for COVID-19 in the second week of November, but that he is now feeling better and recuperating after being discharged from Providence Hospital in Anchorage.

“Very frankly, I had not felt this sick in a very long time, and I am grateful to everyone who has kept me in their thoughts and prayers,” Young said, in a statement issued Monday, Nov. 16.

Young said following his discharge from the hospital he is continuing to recover and is working from home in Alaska.

Young, who is 87, is considered by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to be at higher risk to get severely ill from the virus.

He expressed concern about reports about his condition, which he said were “based on speculation in the media that did not respect my privacy,” adding that he did not want Alaskans to be scared of seeking testing or treatment out of privacy concerns. He encouraged all Alaskans to continue to follow guidelines from the CDC, to practice social distancing, wear a mask and avoid crowds when possible.

Young cited the pandemic as a public health emergency and economic crisis, which has had a devastating impact on the health and economy of the nation, and said he was encouraged by news that a second COVID-19 vaccine candidate has shown to be successful.

News that Young had tested positive for COVID-19 came as the number of people infected in Alaska continued to soar, and Gov. Mike Dunleavy issued another statewide emergency alert imploring Alaskans to help stem the spread of the virus.

The governor noted that healthcare workers, first responders and others in the service sector “are being infected at unprecedented rates” and urged everyone to wear masks in every setting where they can’t be six feet apart from others.

While the number of Alaskans who have succumbed to the virus stood at 98 for several days, the number of infections to both Alaskans and nonresidents continues to rise. As of Monday, Nov. 16, there were an additional 563 more people infected, boosting the statewide total to 24,399 infected, including 23,240 residents and 1,159 nonresidents.