Mayor Dave Bronson is in quarantine after coming into close contact with Mike Robbins, executive director of the Anchorage Community Development Authority, who has now tested positive for COVID-19.
The mayor’s office confirmed on Monday that Robbins had contracted the virus and that Bronson was in quarantine.
Corey Allen Young, spokesperson for the mayor’s office, said Bronson was following the COVID-19 mitigation policy and city quarantine for six days, and on day six he would be tested for virus.
No one else in the mayor’s office came in close contact with Robbins, Young said.
“No one else has tested positive or has shown signs of symptoms,” he said by email, adding that the mayor was working from home.
Bronson was in close contact with Robbins during a Visit Anchorage event last week. Two other members of the administration were present but did not have prolonged close contact with Robbins, Young said.
This is the second time this month that the mayor has been quarantined following close contact with a COVID-positive member of his administration. Earlier this month, city manager Amy Demboski and city attorney Patrick Bergt tested positive for the virus.
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On Monday, Bronson gave a “state of the city address” – via Zoom – to the Anchorage Chamber of Commerce during the organization’s “Make it Monday” forum.
“Please accept my apologies again for not being there in person as I fall (under) quarantine protocols,” Bronson told the audience.
The mayor has avoided strongly encouraging the wearing of masks or advocating vaccinations, both of which have been shown to reduce the transmission of the virus and the risk of serious illness. Instead, he often defers to Dr Michael Savitt – his chief medical officer in the Anchorage Health Department – on such matters.
At the chamber forum on Monday, Bronson said the city’s top priority was to coordinate the city’s response to COVID-19, including “extensive testing, targeted vaccinations and antibody treatments. monoclonal drugs for improved and targeted treatments, especially in our underserved communities. “
Now, “we’re working to get back to pre-COVID service levels as we go back to providing all of the traditional services the Anchorage Health Department typically provides,” Bronson said.
The health department has also focused on the operations of the city’s mass-care shelters, including the assembly shelter at Sullivan Arena and non-collective housing, he said.
The fight against homelessness remains a top priority for his administration, the mayor said.
“We continue to work with the Assembly to develop an adequate service capacity for the homeless in our city and will soon be launching an initiative to reduce begging on our streets,” said Bronson.
The pandemic was largely a footnote in Bronson’s remarks in the House on Monday. He underlined the other priorities of his administration: working with the Assembly to adopt a budget for next year; replacing aging docks, broken pilings and other infrastructure issues in the Port of Alaska Modernization Program; and encouraging the city’s economic growth, among other priorities.
News of Robbins’ positive test result – and Bronson’s quarantine – comes as Anchorage faces stubbornly high virus transmission rates in the town, in a wave that has accelerated dramatically in late summer and was spurred on by the highly contagious delta variant.
Bronson had a mild COVID-19 attack last fall and suffered from long-term symptoms, he said.
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The mayor strongly opposes COVID-19 restrictions, including the city’s current blanket order, which the Anchorage Assembly passed earlier this month. Bronson vetoed the order requiring masks to be worn in indoor public spaces, but the assembly quickly voted to override the veto.
Bronson and most of his administration have attended Assembly meetings without a mask since taking office. The emergency mask order exempts Bronson and his administration from the requirement, and members said the order was not intended to require the mayor to wear a mask, but rather to protect public health and safety .
Bronson has spoken out against vaccination warrants and against vaccination requirements for staff at local hospitals. In his campaign, in assembly meetings and in other public forums, he downplayed the severity of the pandemic and its impact on hospitals.
Robbins did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Young did not immediately respond to a question about whether Robbins was showing symptoms.