Covid-19

CDC/TNS

CDC/TNS

A Covid-19 particle is pictured in this image provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Cases of Covid-19 are rising in the Denali Borough. The latest numbers show eight residents and two non-residents tested positive during the past seven days.

“We’re spiking along with the rest of the state and the country,” said Chris Noel, the borough’s emergency manager.

This may be the highest number of cases since seven positive cases were reported in one day on Oct. 26, 2020. It puts the borough on high alert.

According to Denali Borough clerk Amber Renshaw, the borough merits its own alert status now. Previously, cases in the Denali Borough were lumped in with other rural communities, but the state recently revised that system. The state determines alert levels based on per capita incidence of Covid-19 in the past seven days. More details can be found at the state’s website dhss.alaska.gov/dph/epi/id/pages/covid-19/alertlevels.aspx.

Meanwhile, the Denali Borough boasts a 68% vaccination rate of local residents.

In response to the increasing number of cases, the Denali Preschool and Learning Center re-instituted a mandatory mask policy for all children (preschool, child care and elementary after school care) and adults. That policy will be re-evaluated when the Interior is no longer on high alert. All visitors to the building are required to wear masks, regardless of vaccination status.

The Denali Borough School Board is scheduled to meet Thursday night to refine its recent ruling making masks optional at school buildings for the upcoming school year.

The Denali Borough’s Covid numbers can be seen on the borough’s Covid dashboard at denaliborough.com. That number is updated every day.

Covid testing continues borough wide, free of charge, through Horizon Medical. Check www.horizonmedicalak.com to find a testing or vaccination site and time.

Hybrid meeting

The Denali Borough Assembly meets Wednesday, using a hybrid format that allows people to attend either in person or via Zoom.

In order for these hybrid meetings to continue, the issue has to go on the ballot and get approval from voters. Currently, the borough charter states that people must be present to speak at the meetings. An ordinance to allow electronic participation will be discussed at Wednesday’s meeting.

The ballot proposition would state: “In an effort to increase accessibility to assembly meetings, increase transparency of assembly actions, increase public participation in assembly meetings, and to protect the health, safety and welfare of the public by reducing the need to travel to participate in meetings as well as respect individual risk tolerance for gathering with non-household members, shall the Denali Borough allow for and clarify that assembly members and the public may participate in assembly meetings electronically provided that participants can both hear and be heard.”

Voters would vote Yes or No.

The borough held Zoom meetings throughout the past year, during the Covid-19 pandemic. More people attended the meetings, or portions of the meetings, online than usually come in person.

Blueberry Festival

This year’s annual Blueberry Festival, on Saturday, Aug. 14, will include a free vaccination clinic, hosted by Horizon Medical.

The festival at Otto Lake begins with the Blueberry Dash at 10 a.m. This year, there is a new route and a new format. The festival offers a one-mile run for kids age 14 and under, and a 5K for runners age 15 and older. Online registration available until 12 a.m. day of the race. All proceeds benefit the Children’s Organ Transplant Association.

Kids games and activities will be held 4-6 p.m. and include raft rides on the lake and covered wagon rides. The vaccination clinic will be held 4-7 p.m.

Every year, Epic Kayak Ultimate from Fairbanks comes to Healy to invite anyone to play, for free, on the lake. That begins at 4 p.m. Epic Kayak Ultimate is a high-intensity water sport melding skill and teamwork with the challenge of paddling.

Food trucks and vendors open for business at 5 p.m. From 7 p.m. until midnight, Marc Brown and the Blues Crew from Fairbanks will perform. A beer garden will open at the same time.

Reach columnist/community editor Kris Capps at kcapps@newsminer.com Follow her on Twitter @FDNMKris.

Reach columnist/community editor Kris Capps at kcapps@newsminer.com Follow her on Twitter @FDNMKris.