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AHD partners with CDC, HUD to address COVID-19 outbreak in people experiencing homelessness

ANCHORAGE – The Anchorage Health Department will receive federal support from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) in response to the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak among persons experiencing homelessness (PEH) in Anchorage.

The federal support, arranged and in collaboration with the State of Alaska Department of Health & Social Services (DHSS), will include three CDC professionals and one HUD team member to offer on-site epidemiological and operational technical assistance for approximately two weeks beginning September 11, 2020, with the possibility of further support if needed.

“As the COVID-19 pandemic presents new and constant challenges, AHD welcomes the support of experienced federal partners like the CDC and HUD,” said AHD director Heather Harris. “Strong partnerships are key during a public health emergency. We look forward to learning new and proven ways on how to approach the current PEH outbreak now and moving forward.”

The goals of the federal support include creating strategies for data sharing among providers, DHSS, and AHD, and an evaluation of the response to the current PEH outbreak to improve and expand longer-term strategies. Additionally, the federal team will help further develop strategies to ensure PEH remain healthy and well-monitored during isolation and quarantine.

“Tracking COVID-19 within our community has been a huge undertaking for our small but mighty team at AHD,” said Christy Lawton, AHD Public Health Division Manager. “We are excited to join forces with the team from CDC, HUD, and our State DHSS partners to identify additional strategies to support our most vulnerable residents and the dedicated providers working every day to serve them, so that we can not only ensure each individual’s health and safety, but that of our entire community as well."

As of September 10, 2020, there have been 168 cases identified that are associated with the PEH outbreak. There have been eight individuals hospitalized. Four remain hospitalized, three have been discharged, and one person has died.

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