The City of Unalaska will close the Aquatics Center, Library, and Department of Parks, Culture, and Recreation to the public starting on Monday, March 16.
The announcement came a day after Gov. Mike Dunleavy extended public schools' spring break by a week due to concern over coronavirus. With schools shuttered until March 30, the city felt that closing other community centers was a necessary next step.
"We want the schools' closing to be effective," said City Manager Erin Reinders. "We're trying to lower the curve."
"Lowering the curve" is a public health strategy that involves preventing hospitals and healthcare workers from becoming overwhelmed. By limiting large gatherings and physical contact—also known as social distancing—communities hope to lower the rate of transmission of the virus. The slower people are to contract the disease, the less overwhelmed hospitals will get. The strategy has been shown to save lives.
The city's closures are due to run in tandem with the schools.
"As of this point, we'll be opening back up on March 28," said Reinders. "But it's all subject to change."
The Aquatics Center, Library, and PCR will remain open through the weekend. On Monday, the facilities will close.
As of Saturday afternoon, there are no confirmed cases of coronavirus in Unalaska. One test is pending. For more information on COVID-19 in Alaska, visit the Department of Health and Social Services website. The City of Unalaska will also post daily updates at 2pm on their website.