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HEALTH MANDATE: All non-urgent, elective surgery procedures halted for three months

KMXT is posting this press release from Governor Mike Dunleavy as received, with minor editing.

**COVID-19 HEALTH MANDATE**Issued: March 19, 2020

By: Governor Mike Dunleavy
Commissioner Adam Crum, Alaska Department of Health and Social Services
Dr. Anne Zink, Chief Medical Officer, State of Alaska

To prevent the spread of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19), the State of Alaska is issuing its fifth health mandate. This mandate supersedes guidance provided in COVID-19 Health Alert 006.

The Public Health Disaster Emergency Declaration signed by Governor Mike Dunleavy on March 11, 2020 provides for health mandates to be issued when deemed necessary by the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services, the Alaska Chief Medical Officer, the Alaska Division of Public Health and the Office of the Governor.

Mandate 5.1 – Elective Procedures
All patients, providers, hospitals and surgical centers are required to postpone or cancel all non-urgent or elective procedures for three months to decrease the overall impact on the Alaska health care structure and preserve personal protective equipment. This would include pre-scheduled surgeries deemed non-essential. This mandate does not apply to surgical cases coming through the emergency room or for an existing hospitalized patient.

Because the terms “non-urgent or elective” are not fully defined, the state recommends each hospital creates a physician task force that would be available to evaluate on a case-by-case basis and make a determination on borderline surgeries. This action is taken with the guidance from U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams and the American College of Surgeons: and

Given Alaska’s distances and limited health care capacity, it is especially important to open acute health care beds for anticipated COVID-19 care and preserve personal protective equipment. The State of Alaska believes that delaying non emergent procedures is a protective measure both for patients and the health care workforce and will better prepare us for the anticipated impact COVID-19 will have on our health care system.

We appreciate the public’s understanding of this mandate in an effort to mitigate the impacts of this virus.

For the latest information on COVID-19, visit
State of Alaska COVID-19 Mandate 005