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Latest Alaska news, sports, business and entertainment at 9:20 p.m. AKDT

Latest Alaska news, sports, business and entertainment at 9:20 p.m. AKDT
Published: Jul. 3, 2020 at 3:23 AM AKDT
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VIRUS OUTBREAK-ALASKA

Rise in COVID-19 cases taxing Anchorage contact tracing

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — Health officials say a rise in COVID-19 cases is taxing Anchorage’s ability to investigate cases. The Anchorage Daily News reports the city and state are working to expand contact tracing abilities as local cases increase with people interacting more. Tracking contacts of people who have tested positive is an important tool in efforts to limit the spread of the coronavirus. Anchorage Health Department Director Natasha Pineda says cases are emerging with more contacts. Earlier in the pandemic, people may have interacted with three to five people. But she says some now report dozens of contacts.

EMERGENCY LANDING NATIONAL PARK

Small airplane makes emergency landing in national park

The National Park Service says a small airplane made an emergency landing in Denali National Park and Preserve, and the two people inside the plane were rescued shortly thereafter. The park service says a Cessna 180 landed about 11 a.m. Thursday near the Eielson Visitor Center, an interpretive center and rest stop at mile 66 of Denali Park Road. Park Service employees airlifted the two people in the plane to McKinley National Park Airport, near the entrance of the park, where they were met by emergency medical services personnel from the Tri-Valley Volunteer Fire Department. The park service says neither person was injured.

VIRUS OUTBREAK-ALASKA VILLAGE

Alaska village complains of stigma following COVID tests

BETHEL, Alaska (AP) — An official at one Alaska village says residents have been humiliated and discriminated against after the Yukon-Kuskokwim Health Corp. announced two people who were in the village tested positive for COVID-19. KYUK reports Napaskiak Tribal Administrator Sharon Williams says village residents have been turned away from businesses in the nearby hub community of Bethel, even though they are adhering to proper COVID-19 protocols. Williams says she's not sure there has been community spread in the village just southwest of Bethel. But the health corporation says it stands by its assessment and believes it was important to make an announcement.

VIRUS OUTBREAK-BAR PRECAUTIONS

Anchorage bars called on to adopt more virus precautions

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — Anchorage officials and trade groups have released new suggested guidelines they hope bars and restaurants will adopt to slow the spread of the coronavirus. The Anchorage Daily News reported city health officials say several entertainment and hospitality businesses in the municipality have been linked to recent COVID-19 cases. The suggested precautions were announced during a briefing by Anchorage Mayor Ethan Berkowitz, Anchorage Health Department Director Natasha Pineda and trade group officials. The suggestions include closing earlier and admitting fewer customers, requiring patrons to wear masks, adding outdoor seating and taking steps to limit circumstances that reduce physical distancing.

VIRUS OUTBREAK-QUARANTINE LAWSUIT

Judge: Hawaii's quarantine is reasonable during pandemic

HONOLULU (AP) — A U.S. judge will not stop Hawaii from enforcing a quarantine on arriving travelers. U.S. District Judge Jill Otake says in a ruling that the emergency mandate is reasonable during the public health crisis caused by the coronavirus pandemic. A group of Hawaii, California and Nevada residents tried to stop the quarantine by filing a lawsuit alleging it is unfair and unnecessary. Gov. David Ige has announced that starting Aug. 1, travelers will be able to bypass the quarantine if they test negative prior to arriving. The testing plan is similar to one in Alaska.

KENAI AIRPORT-BUSINESS DECLINE

Kenai loses air traffic after virus arrives, RavnAir departs

KENAI, Alaska (AP) — An official says the coronavirus pandemic and the bankruptcy of an air carrier have combined to drastically reduce travel through a Southcentral Alaska airport. The Peninsula Clarion reported the Kenai Municipal Airport has had 18,000 fewer passengers through May than the previous year as a result of the coronavirus and the bankruptcy of RavnAir Group. RavnAir halted its operations April 5. Kenai airport Manager Mary Bondurant says there were 6,441 passengers traveling out of Kenai in April 2019 and only 359 in April this year. The airport had 7,198 passengers departures in May 2019 compared to 702 in May 2020.