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Two older men in the Fairbanks area have tested positive for COVID-19 after traveling in the Lower 48, Alaska’s chief medical officer said Monday night.
The two positive test results came in Monday evening, Dr. Anne Zink said. She described these as “travel associated cases.” Both men had been traveling to places in the Lower 48 where community transmission was happening, and had been out in the Fairbanks community “for a period of time,” Zink told news media in a briefing.
Both individuals are currently stable and isolating at home, Zink said, adding that their families and close contacts will be asked to be quarantined. Officials “do not have any reason to believe they were traveling together or traveling in the same place,” Zink said.
The state’s epidemiology team is still investigating all their contacts with other people, which Zink described as “an ongoing process.” When asked whether the two individuals had traveled through other Alaska communities since traveling Outside, she said that was “part of their ongoing investigation.”
Zink said that these cases highlight the importance of people staying home if they’re feeling sick, and said that anyone who had traveled to the Lower 48 in the last 14 days should socially distance themselves from other people.
Fairbanks Mayor Jim Matherly said there were no plans to enact restaurant or other business closures like those announced for Anchorage on Monday, though he said “decisions may be flexible because we don’t know what to expect over the coming days.” Part of the issue is also that “the city (of Fairbanks) has the authority to close bars and restaurants,” but the Fairbanks North Star Borough doesn’t, Matherly said.
The announcement brings the number of known positive COVID-19 cases in Alaska to three. The first case involved an air cargo pilot who had traveled through Anchorage’s international airport and is now in isolation.
This is a developing story. Check back for updates.