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What you need to know about COVID-19

COVID-19 (Coronavirus) is a worldwide pandemic as declared by the World Health Organization (WHO) and a declared emergency disaster for the State of Alaska. With no current vaccine and diagnosis numbers on an ever increasing worldwide trajectory, the City and Borough of Juneau and Bartlett Regional Hospital are dealing with local cases of COVID-19.

We are part of a strong public health care system with the foundation of the Centers for Disease Control and Alaska Department of Health and Social Services. DHSS and CDC are actively monitoring the situation and have screening processes in place designed to keep the public safe in an ever changing public health crisis. For the latest updates, please visit CDC and DHSS.

For the latest news from Bartlett Hospital regarding COVID-19, visit our news center.

How COVID-19 Spreads

The virus spreads mainly from person-to-person.

  • Between people who are in close contact with one another (within about 6 feet).
  • Through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes.

These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs.

Older adults and people who have severe underlying chronic medical conditions like heart or lung disease or diabetes seem to be at higher risk for developing more serious complications from COVID-19 illness. Please consult with your health care provider about additional steps you may be able to take to protect yourself.

Risk factors

  • Close contact with someone who has COVID-19 — such as when a family member or health care worker takes care of an infected person
  • Recent travel from or residence in an area with ongoing spread of COVID-19 as determined by CDC or the World Health Organization (WHO)
  • If you have traveled to a country on the CDC list of level 2 or 3 travel health notices and feel ill, call your health care provider first and before coming to the BRH emergency department.
  • Avoid coming to the emergency department, unless you have a health emergency and/or you have been advised by your health care provider to do so. This helps prevent the risk of spreading COVID-19 infection.

Check your risk for COVID-19


Signs and symptoms of COVID-19 may appear two to 14 days after exposure and can include:

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing

The severity of COVID-19 symptoms can range from very mild to severe. People who are older or have existing medical conditions, such as heart disease, may be at higher risk of serious illness. This is similar to what is seen with other respiratory illnesses, such as influenza. There is no specific treatment for COVID-19. Most infected people will recover on their own.

Protect Yourself, Protect Your Community-Stay Home and Wash Your Hands!

The best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to this virus and to avoid exposing others if you may have been exposed.

If you have been exposed to the virus, even if you are not showing any symptoms, stay home. If you are experiencing even mild symptoms, stay home.

  • Separate yourself from other people and animals in your home as much as possible while you are sick.
  • Monitor yourself for fever, coughing and shortness of breath

How to Protect Yourself

Protect yourself and your community from COVID-19 infection the same ways you protect against the common cold or seasonal flu.

  • Sanitize your hands often for at least 20 seconds each time. Alcohol gel works well in most situations (like after coughing, sneezing, or blowing your nose), but handwashing with soap and water should be performed after going to the bathroom, before eating, or when your hands are visibly soiled.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash (putting a tissue on a table contaminates the surface of the table with germs).
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Routinely disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces, using a cleaning spray or wipe.
  • Avoid travel to high-risk countries or through any of the countries for which the CDC has issued a level 2 or 3 travel health notice.
  • Take extra precautions to reduce the likelihood of exposure, if you are at a higher risk of serious illness from COVID-19.

Maintain social distancing

The World Health Organization recommends maintaining at least 1 metre (3 feet) and the CDC recommends 6 feet distance between yourself and anyone who is coughing or sneezing.

Why? When someone coughs or sneezes they spray small liquid droplets from their nose or mouth which may contain virus. If you are too close, you can breathe in the droplets, including the COVID-19 virus if the person coughing has the disease.

  • Avoid large gatherings and crowded places as much as possible.
  • Avoid shaking hands and hugging as much as possible.
  • If you live in a rural area, consider limiting non-essential travel to protect your community.

What about Masks?

The CDC does not currently recommend the use of masks among the general public. Only health care professionals caring for COVID-19 patients, people who are sick with COVID-19, or in some cases people caring for patients who are sick with COVID-19 need precautions like a face mask to help limit their risk of spreading COVID-19. Accordingly, we will only provide masks to members and patients who are symptomatic when they come to our facilities. This helps us ensure that we have masks for the patients and staff who need them most urgently.