Three members of Alaska Gov. Mike Dunleavy’s executive staff in Anchorage have confirmed cases of COVID-19, the governor’s office said Wednesday afternoon.
The infected people do not include Dunleavy or Lt. Gov. Kevin Meyer, said the governor’s deputy communications director, Jeff Turner.
Alaska is experiencing the highest daily COVID-19 case counts so far in the pandemic, with Wednesday being the 21st consecutive day that at least 100 new cases were announced by the state.
Dunleavy’s chief of staff, Ben Stevens, said he tested negative. He and Turner declined to say who had tested positive.
“I can’t go disclosing names. We have to be a little careful of HIPAA,” Turner said, referring to the federal law protecting patient privacy.
Stevens said one staff member received a positive test result on Tuesday after becoming ill over the weekend and quarantining at home as a precaution. Turner said he didn’t know what the person’s symptoms were.
Twenty-six employees in Anchorage and Palmer took precautionary rapid-result tests after learning of the positive test, Turner said.
“We tested everybody that’s in the Anchorage executive office, and we had two that came up. They’re asymptomatic," Stevens said.
Stevens said the office reacted to the news like any private-sector office would have. Though Turner and Stevens were at work in the Atwood Building on Wednesday, other employees had been sent home with laptops.
“We’re implementing protocols to mitigate the spread. We’re implementing telework and we got people tested,” he said. “Everybody’s fine. We expect them to go through quarantine and return back to work when they’re cleared.”
Asked about what’s being done to prevent COVID-19 spread in the Atwood Building, where the governor’s office is located, Turner said, “every employee has the ability to get tested. Protocols to prevent the spread of COVID-19 have been in place since the beginning of the pandemic. Those protocols include contact tracing, social distancing and teleworking when possible. Janitorial crews conduct regular daily cleaning of all offices with special attention given to high touch surfaces like doorknobs and railings.”