Second case of COVID-19 confirmed in Juneau
A second case of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) has been confirmed in Juneau. The Alaska Department of Health and Social Services (DHSS) informed Bartlett Regional Hospital on Monday, March 23 following DHSS’s daily cut-off for announcements of confirmed cases around the state. The individual is currently hospitalized at Bartlett Regional Hospital (BRH) in the Critical Care Unit.
According to DHSS Epidemiology, the individual had traveled to the Lower 48; Epidemiology believes this is the source of the virus. BRH reports the patient was in Portland and the state of Washington. State Division of Public Health nurses in Juneau are working with the individual’s family to do the contact investigation. Local public health nurses contact individuals who have had extended contact within 48 hours of when a confirmed positive case experiences symptoms (cough, fever, shortness of breath).
HIPAA regulations on protected health information have been relaxed so that the contacts of confirmed cases can be investigated by state public health officials. The waiver does not allow release of the names of confirmed cases to the public. The HIPAA Privacy Rule protects the privacy of patients’ health information, but is balanced to ensure that appropriate uses and disclosures of the information still may be made when necessary to treat a patient, to protect the nation’s public health, and for other critical purposes.
The first confirmed case in Juneau, announced March 22, is isolating at home. DHSS believes this case is the result of travel within Alaska. Neither of these first two Juneau cases have been deemed the result of community transmission.
CBJ encourages the community to continue following CDC recommendations, such as handwashing, social distancing, and cleaning and disinfecting frequently touched surfaces daily.
If you are sick or suspect that you may be infected with the virus that causes COVID-19, you should take steps to help prevent the disease from spreading to people in your home and community. If you think you have been exposed to COVID-19 and develop a fever and symptoms, such as cough or difficulty breathing, call your healthcare provider for medical advice.
For more information, contact BRH Community Relations Director Katie Bausler at 796-8567 or 321-2755 or firstname.lastname@example.org.