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HEALTH MANDATE: Governor to shut down dining at bars and restaurants; total confirmed Alaska COVID-19 cases up to 6

Story by KTOO’s and Alaska Public Media’s Andrew Kitchenman.

Three more people in Alaska have confirmed cases of coronavirus, bringing the total to six.

In a news conference Tuesday evening, Dr. Anne Zink, the state’s chief medical officer, said the new cases are from Anchorage, Fairbanks and Ketchikan.

“We’ve seen in just a few days that we’ve had no cases, to one case, to now more cases,” Zink said. “And this is what we’re going to continue to see with this, if we do not all work together to stand apart, to be able to socially distance, but also to take care of each other.”

All six cases appear to be related to travel.

In addition, Gov. Mike Dunleavy closed all restaurants and bars statewide to dine-in services, effective Wednesday at 5 p.m. Zink said takeout and delivery will be allowed.

The closure is through April 1. It also applies to all entertainment facilities, including theaters, gyms, bowling alleys and bingo halls.

Zink said the state has 1,650 kits at state labs to do more tests.

“We are expecting more and more testing,” she said. “I was on numerous federal calls today to try to get additional supplies, including swabs and reagents, to be able to expand that capacity, as we try to expand to meet what we are concerned about: a growing epidemic within our state, and a pandemic worldwide.”

All four leaders of the legislative caucus offered the governor their support in the news conference.

This story has been updated.