KTUU: Senator Lisa Murkowski and Mayor Ethan Berkowitz give an update on COVID-19

Anchorage Mayor Ethan Berkowitz and Senator Lisa Murkowski held a community briefing Monday on COVID-19.

To recap some of the highlights:

The mayor said continuing our current efforts to flatten the curve are critical, and what we're doing is working, he says. He confirmed the statistics are not showing any specific patterns or clusters in any particular neighborhood in Anchorage.

Berkowitz confirmed he will be asking for an extension of the current emergency order through November 15th - which will allow the muni to continue to make additional adjustments or issue safety-related mandates as needed through that time period.

He also offered an update on PPE stockpiles in the Municipality. Also, Berkowitz talked about the various companies working locally in Alaska to make masks, face coverings, hand sanitizer and other items that remain in high demand.

Sen. Murkowski complimented the mayor for leading early on closures which she noted were hard decisions but important to mitigate the spread. The senator also talked about the federal options that are available to help Alaskans financially - including stimulus checks - and the paycheck protection act for small businesses.

Murkowski said quote "these are challenging times for everybody... but we're all in it." she said reopening the economy - either nationally or in Alaska - may happen in different ways - and we need to follow the advice of health professionals, continue testing and try to avoid a resurgence of the virus. She warned against the urge to try to come back sooner than we're ready from a health safety perspective.

Also, just before the muni briefing began, we got an update from d-h-h-s on the latest numbers.

Statewide, we've had 5 new cases, bringing the total to 277 in Alaska. Four of those new cases were reported in Anchorage and the other was in Juneau.

The number of deaths statewide remains unchanged since Sunday - at eight deaths statewide. A total of 32 people have been hospitalized due to the virus and 85 have recovered.

Governor Mike Dunleavy is scheduled to give another COVID-19 update at five o'clock. We'll carry that briefing live in its entirety on KEYS-Channel 5, as well as highlights on Channel 2 News at five, six and 10.

By:  Alexis Fernandez
Source: KTUU