CBJ special Assembly meeting, proposed extension of COVID mitigation protocols

    Juneau, Alaska (KINY) - The City and Borough of Juneau Assembly will be holding a special meeting Wednesday evening on whether to extend the ordinance that establishes COVID-19 mitigation measures until Oct. 31, 2021. The ordinance is currently set to expire on July 31.

    Deputy city manager and incident commander Mila Cosgrove said the Assembly will be taking up the emergency ordinance again due to the high case counts and rates of transmission in the community. On Monday, Juneau reported the highest 7- and 14-day case rates it has seen so far in the pandemic. Cosgrove said the Emergency Operations Center believes the current surge is caused by the Delta variant.

    The COVID-19 mitigation measures on the agenda tonight are essentially the same as they are currently, but with some slight revisions.

    "They're suggested changes," Cosgrove said. "So as an example, right now the mitigation measures have a level 1C and 1B, depending on the community vaccination rate and we think we're basically fairly close, and that the Delta variant is slightly more transmissible so we're moving back to one level for 'minimal', and we've added language that recommends masking for fully-vaccinated individuals at the 'moderate' risk level."

    There is also an added "green" risk level up for consideration tonight. If it passes as proposed, an "all-clear" level would be added to the risk metric.

    "People have been asking us for a while--'How do we know when it's over?" and that right now doesn't exist in our risk metrics so we decided to put that in," Cosgrove said. "We've added a green, fully-open level. The community would enter the level when 97% of the population has the opportunity to become fully vaccinated."

    She further explained that the key word is "opportunity." The EOC is proposing that instead of a minimum percentage of people vaccinated in the community, it would be a minimum number of people who are eligible to be fully vaccinated. Cosgrove said that would occur roughly six to seven weeks after children aged 2-11 are authorized to be vaccinated against COVID-19.

    A memo is included in the Assembly packet that explains some of the proposed changes. The meeting is at 5:30 p.m. and can be joined via Zoom.

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