In Governor Mike Dunleavy’s mandates restricting close contact between non-family members and clamping down on unnecessary travel was the possibility that remote communities could do more to isolate themselves from the coronavirus, including closing or restricting access to the town.
Those conversations are taking place in Seldovia, a community of 226 on the south side of Kachemak Bay, according to City Manager Cassidi Cameron.
“Oh, absolutely, because, you know, you can only get here by water or plane, those conversations are definitely being held,” Cameron said. “We are working with our city attorney and our council members on exploring the concepts and the options that we may need to implement, you know, additional restrictions under the governor's mandate.”
Since a number more return to Seldovia seasonally, Cameron says a group in town has organized to help returnees maintain a two-week quarantine.
“So they're offering to grab their groceries, get their mail for them, pick up packages if need be and just try to help them successfully quarantine should they be arriving from out of state,” she said.
The small city, just about a dozen miles from Homer, relies heavily on the larger city for much of its healthcare and is in a precarious situation if the illness reaches its shores.
“It would be quite devastating very quickly due to our location and our rural setting off the road system, but then also we have very limited health care. We rely heavily on Homer and South Peninsula Hospital for emergency health care,” Cameron said. “So we're trying to work with all of the different agencies right now on getting a plan in place for our community in terms of transportation, our PPE, our EMS responders, all of our employees and essential staff all dialed in and trying to make a plan for the near future.”
Cameron says air-ambulance companies have reaffirmed to the city that their services will still be available, and she said the city has an agreement for local water taxi service as well.
“And then Mako's Water Taxi has graciously helped in developing a plan and kind of a mobilization plan for emergency medevacs should there need be from Seldovia or Jackaloff Harbor, is what our plan states, over to Homer. We've also been working with Homer, emergency management, their team there to coordinate with them and their EMS responders in the event that we would have an evacuation.”
Overall, Cameron says the community is working together for the long run.
“We know that we're in a marathon but we don't know what mile we're on. So it's really uncharted and really mysterious,” she said. “So we're trying our best to be prepared for our community and keeping everybody safe and healthy.”
Regarding medevac from such companies as LifeMed Alaska, Cameron recommends obtaining their subscription service or reviewing your membership.