December 21, 2021

Press Release: Gara Asks Governor To Provide Advice To Alaskans On How To Protect Health, Lives From New COVID Variant.

Governor Should Hold Press Conference With Experts, Provide Leadership, Before Fast-Spreading Variant Hits Large Numbers of Alaskans

National experts are “expecting a surge of COVID-19 cases in the coming days to weeks” from the new, highly infectious COVID variant, Omicron. 

“We should get out reliable information to people so they can protect themselves and their families. Alaska has had the advantage of seeing what’s happening in other states before this new virus strain surges here, We should use that advantage to protect people and save lives,” said former Rep. Les Gara.  

In the face of growing information on how to protect people from illness, Governor Dunleavy has remained largely silent, and held no press conferences on the new Omicron variant. He’s personally offered almost no advice to Alaskans on how they can protect themselves and their families. “Leadership means helping people prevent illness and hospitalization, not remaining silent when you can protect people,” said Gara

“The Governor has unique access to the best health experts in the state. He should get out front to share their knowledge as families start spending time with each other, including with relatives who face high health risks if they suffer infection. Silence from the Governor in the face of the fastest-spreading version of this virus we’ve ever seen isn’t how to protect people. We don’t need extreme policies like vaccine mandates, but people do deserve information so they can decide how to protect themselves,” said Gara.

If Alaskans are concerned about spreading COVID to older or at-risk family members during the holidays, the Department of Health and Social Services has put together a list of testing sites around the state. One infectious disease doctor has informed Gara that he is going to get tested before gathering for Christmas with older family members. “The Governor should let people know whether his experts recommend that, or other measures to protect people,” said Gara.