Alaska Covid Health Mandate 5 and 6 - P.O.W. Report

Friday, March 20, 2020

Alaska Covid Health Mandate 5 and 6

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.

Mandate 6.1 – Elective Oral Health Procedures

Dental clinical settings and oral health professionals are recognized within the highest risk categories for both transmission and contraction of the coronavirus, as most dental procedures release significant aerosols in the operatory atmosphere. Therefore, in concurrence with recommendations from the American Dental Association (ADA), the Alaska Dental Society, and the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention, elective oral health care procedures are required to be postponed for a period of one month. 

Alaska oral health professionals should be aware:
  • There is a growing shortage of personal protective equipment (PPE) in health care facilities as response to COVID-19 continues. Please closely monitor supplies of PPE.
  • There is a high risk of disease in individuals over 60 years of age and individuals with underlying or chronic health conditions. 
Recommended actions:
  • Postpone all elective and non-essential dental procedures.
  • Prioritize treatment for patients experiencing dental emergencies, here defined by the ADA as ‘Health care related to relief of severe dental/oral pain and infection management’.
  • To help decrease the overburden of emergency rooms and urgent care facilities as COVID-19 response rapidly increases, oral health practitioners are encouraged to provide emergency dental care through patients’ regular dental home, including after-hours where possible, except in the case of a life-threatening emergency.
  • Limit orders and use of PPE to the minimum necessary for emergency care.
Resources for practitioners:

For the latest information on COVID-19, visit
State of Alaska COVID-19 Mandate 006

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