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Unalaska’s pandemic rules expire on New Year’s Eve

unalaska city hall
Laura Kraegel
/
KUCB
After consulting with Iliuliuk Family and Health Services representatives, city administration recommended letting the emergency expire. But City Manager Erin Reinders still encourages Unalaskans to remain cautious.

A local state of emergency that allowed the City of Unalaska to enact protective measures against COVID-19 will expire Friday.

City Council took no action at a meeting Tuesday night to extend the declaration, which has been in place since the pandemic began in March 2020.

When the declaration expires, the city will no longer be able to issue protective measures — like mask mandates — unless a new emergency is declared.

After consulting with Iliuliuk Family and Health Services representatives, city administration recommended letting the emergency expire. But City Manager Erin Reinders still encourages Unalaskans to remain cautious.

“As we exit this active state of emergency, the pandemic is still with us,” Reinders said at the meeting.

Wastewater monitoring showed a significant spike in COVID-19 cases in Unalaska over the holiday weekend.

“We had about a month there where it was all at zero, so it has taken a spike up,” Reinders said. “That spike is similar to what we saw back in [September].”

Unalaska experienced its highest surge in positive COVID-19 infections in September, when the city reported 30 confirmed cases.

There are currently seven active cases on the island, according to official reports. Two of those are among community members, and the other five are considered industry-related.

Unalaska remains in the low-risk category, but the four-category risk factor system is also set to end when the emergency declaration expires.

Reinders says the city will continue to update active case counts and wastewater monitoring on the city’s COVID-19 portal.

Theo Greenly reports from the Aleutians as a Report for America corps member. He got his start in public radio at KCRW in Santa Monica, California, and has produced radio stories and podcasts for stations around the country.
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