Combating COVID-19
March 5, 2020
COVID-19, or Coronavirus, is a serious public health threat that is not only spreading across the world, but is now encroaching on our own backyard.There are currently no reported cases of COVID-19 in Alaska, and the State Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Anne Zink, has done a tremendous job of providing information and precautionary measures to Alaskans. Yet, this is not the time to panic. This is the time to wash your hands frequently, cover your mouth with your elbow if you need to cough for any reason, avoid touching your mouth and face, and stay home and/or seek out medical help if you are feeling ill. 

Please be respectful of the health of others, aware of your own symptoms, and please, wash your hands.

I've included more information on COVID-19 below. I look forwarding to visiting with you this Sunday from 2:00 pm to 3:00 pm for the District 20 Mid-Session Legislative Update hosted by Representative Fields and I, along with the Fairview Community Council, at the Fairview Recreation Center (located at 1121 E 10th Avenue). 
All my best,
Senator Tom Begich
Senate District J
COVID-19 Fast Facts
Thank you to Senator Bill Wielechowski and his team for compiling these facts from the
Center of Disease Control.
What is the Novel Coronavirus?

COVID-19 is the infectious disease caused by the most recently discovered coronavirus called Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2, or SARS-CoV-2. Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses which may cause illness in animals or humans. In humans, several coronaviruses are known to cause respiratory infections ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases such as Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS).

According to the World Health Organization, the most common symptoms of COVID-19 are fever, tiredness, and dry cough. Some people have also reported aches and pains, nasal congestion, runny nose, sore throat or diarrhea. However, many people with COVID-19 experience only mild symptoms.
Mild Symptoms 
  • Fever (100.4F or higher)
  • Sore Throat
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath and difficulty breathing 

Severe Symptoms
  • Pneumonia
  • Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome
  • Kidney Failure
  • Death

The "incubation period" is the time between catching the virus and beginning to have symptoms of the disease which for COVID-19 is estimated to range from one to 14 days.

How is COVID-19 Transmitted?
People can catch COVID-19 from others who have the virus. The main way the disease spreads is through respiratory droplets expelled by someone who is coughing or sneezing. Please cover your mouth with coughing and wash your hands frequently. The risk of catching COVID-19 from someone with no symptoms at all is low. However, many people with COVID-19 experience only mild symptoms. It is therefore possible to catch COVID-19 from someone who has, for example, just a mild cough and does not feel ill. The World Health Organization is assessing ongoing research on the period of transmission of COVID-19 and will continue to share updated findings. You can visit their site here.

It is not certain how long the virus that causes COVID-19 survives on surfaces, but it seems to behave like other coronaviruses. Studies suggest that coronaviruses may persist on surfaces for a few hours or up to several days. This may vary under different conditions such as the type of surface, temperature or humidity.

How Is COVID-19 Different From The flu?
Influenza "the flu" and COVID-19, the illness caused by the new coronavirus, are respiratory illnesses. Both have similar symptoms. Both are contagious. Both can be deadly. As of now, there are no unique clinical signatures that distinguish COVID-19 from influenza. Although the symptoms of COVID-19 and the flu can look similar, the two illnesses are caused by different viruses.

While there is currently no vaccine for COVID-19, the seasonal flu is still circulating throughout Alaska and it is not too late for people to get a flu vaccine. Getting an annual flu vaccine can protect against influenza. Even if you do get the flu, it will likely be a milder case and you would be at lower risk for hospitalization with the vaccine. According to the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services, influenza currently poses a far greater health risk to Alaskans than COVID-19.

Who is at risk?
People of all ages can be infected by COVID-19. Elderly people, and people with pre-existing medical conditions such as asthma, diabetes, heart disease appear to be more vulnerable to becoming severely ill with the virus.

Protecting Yourself and Others
In any case, if you have fever, cough and difficulty breathing seek medical care early to reduce the risk of developing a more severe infection and be sure to share your recent travel history with your health care provider.
  • Wash your hands frequently for at least 20 seconds. Washing your hands with soap and water or using alcohol-based hand rub kills viruses that may be on your hands.
  • Maintain social distancing. Maintain at least 6 feet distance between yourself and anyone who is coughing or sneezing.
  • Avoid touching eyes, nose, and mouth. Your hands touch many surfaces and can pick up viruses. Once contaminated, hands can transfer the virus to your eyes, nose, or mouth. From there, the virus can enter your body and can make you sick.
  • Make sure you, and the people around you, follow good respiratory hygiene. This means covering your mouth and nose with your bent elbow or tissue when you cough or sneeze. Then dispose of the used tissue immediately.
  • Stay home if you feel unwell. If you have a fever, cough and difficulty breathing, seek medical attention and call in advance. Follow the directions of your local health authority.

Helpful Links

Local Medical Facilities

If you are experiencing flu like symptoms you should get checked out. If you believe you may have COVID-19, it is suggested that you contact the hospital or medical clinic BEFORE you go there. Below are some medical facilities in our community.

Alaska Veterans Administration
1201 North Muldoon Road
Anchorage, Alaska 99504
Phone: (907) 257-4700
Providence ExpressCare - Tikahtnu
1118 North Muldoon Road
Anchorage, Alaska 99504
Patients First Medical Clinic
6307 Debarr Road Suite C,
Anchorage, Alaska 99504
Phone: (907) 333-7425
Urgent Care Medical Clinic
5437 E Northern Lights Blvd #1,
Anchorage, Alaska 99508
Phone: (907) 333-8561
Vera Whole Health (for Anchorage Municipal Employees)
1450 Muldoon Rd, Suite 100
Anchorage, Alaska 99504
Phone: (907) 313-7550
Mountain View Urgent Care
3521 Mountain View Drive
Anchorage, Alaska 99508
Phone: (907) 868-1105
Medical Park Family Care
2211 E Northern Lights Blvd,
Anchorage, Alaska 99508
Phone: (907) 279-8486

Emergency Room Facilities:
Alaska Regional Hospital
2801 Debarr Road,
Anchorage, Alaska 99508
Phone: (907) 276-1131
Alaska Native Medical Center
4315 Diplomacy Drive
Anchorage, Alaska 99508
Phone: (907) 563-2662
Providence Medical Center
3200 Providence Drive
Anchorage, Alaska 99508
Phone: (907) 562-2211
Legislative COVID-19 Briefing
The Alaska Legislature had a briefing on COVID-19 just yesterday. To watch it on Gavel Alaska, please click here or the below video:
Contact Me!

(907) 465-3704 (Juneau // session)
(907) 269-0169 (Anchorage // interim)