On Monday, Nov. 16, the Anchorage Assembly will hold a special meeting to extend its emergency COVID declaration for the fifth time – prolonging it to the end of the year. It won’t come, however, without considerable public outcry.
Opponents have compiled nearly 1,200 signatures against extending the months long state of emergency. They plan to deliver these signatures during public testimony Monday night.
Like past declarations, this one cites increased cases of COVID and unknown possibilities that might result from the spread. The declaration states that infections “could” overwhelm hospitals, that lifting the emergency declaration “would very likely results in larger loss of life,” and that the “potential extent and effect of COVID-19 cannot yet be known.”
Anyone who tests positive for the virus is listed as a COVID patient even if they are hospitalized for other reasons.
Extending the city’s emergency declaration allows acting mayor Austin Quinn-Davidson to continue imposing restrictions, mask mandates and social distancing orders on city residents. If the Assembly does not renew its emergency declaration, her powers would come to an end on Nov. 30, as would dozens of restrictions on area residents, including a new mandate that all residents must wear masks – indoors and outside.
The signature petition claims that the Assembly’s perpetual extension of the emergency declaration has needlessly “restricted the movement, liberty, and freedom of the citizens, and has “significantly affected the quality of life of Anchorage constituents including but not limited to economic instability, financial hardship, children not receiving full education benefits, a rise in mental health issues including suicide among children, a rise in unreported child and spouse abuse, and other life-altering ramifications.”
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While case counts have grown across the city and currently stand at about 8,300, the vast majority of these people never go to the hospital. In fact, there are currently only 70 residents in a city of 290,000 residents who are hospitalized due to COVID-related illnesses. That represents 0.02% of Anchorage’s population.
The percentage of people hospitalized with a positive COVID test make up 11.8% of all hospitalizations. This does not mean, however, that every COVID patient is hospitalized because of COVID. Anyone who tests positive for the virus is listed as a COVID patient even if they are hospitalized for other reasons.
Click here for information about the Nov. 16 Anchorage Assembly meeting. It starts at 6 p.m.