Alaska Gov. Mike Dunleavy tests positive for covid-19

Gov. Mike Dunleavy discusses COVID-19 during a news conference on April 14, 2020.

Alaska Gov. Mike Dunleavy has tested positive for covid-19, his office announced today.

The governor had been in self-quarantine at his home in the Mat-Su Valley this week after a weekend close contact with someone who later tested positive for the virus. He is currently experiencing mild symptoms after testing positive this morning, according to the administration’s announcement.

“On Sunday morning (February 22), the Governor had been identified as a close contact to someone who tested positive for COVID-19. He was feeling well and tested negative for COVID-19 on Sunday morning but immediately quarantined to reduce his possible exposure to others. He had been feeling well until Tuesday night. Wednesday morning, he tested again, and this time tested positive for SARS-CoV-2 infection,” explained the announcement. “Because the Governor has been in quarantine during his infectious period, there are no known close contacts at this time.” 

The announcement says that both the governor’s attending physician and Chief Medical Officer Dr. Anne Zink are “monitoring him and will provide the public with updates as needed.” 

Dunleavy, 59, temporarily suspended his campaign for governor in 2017 due to address issues with atrial fibrillation, an irregular and often rapid heart rate. In 2019, his office announced that the governor had skin cancer—a basal cell carcinoma, a mild form of skin cancer—removed from his forehead. 

Alaska’s public health disaster declaration expired last week as the Legislature failed to approve legislation to extend it and Dunleavy refused to extend it unilaterally for what would have been the fourth such extension. At the time, he expressed optimism about Alaska’s path forward with the pandemic and called the state’s new handling of the virus a “path to normalcy.”

Many from around Alaska’s political spectrum wished Dunleavy well.

“Wishing Gov. Dunleavy a speedy and full recovery!” wrote Anchorage Democratic Rep. Liz Snyder, a public health expert. “We can see we’re not out of the woods yet, and with a new variant recently confirmed in Alaska, it’s still important to mask up, stay distanced, and keep our bubbles small. Let’s make sure we really are in the home stretch!”

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