(Joe Viechnicki/KFSK)

The Petersburg borough has issued a health proclamation with COVID-19 case numbers continuing to rise.

The Petersburg Medical Center reported 39 active cases as of Saturday, October 2, the most recent update. Some 29 of those are from the last week.

Borough manager Steve Giesbrecht Friday released a proclamation recognizing community spread of the disease and recommending masking indoors for all public spaces, social distancing and avoiding large gatherings. Those are recommendations only. Petersburg does not have any borough-wide health mandates and has not since early summer. The local government, schools and hospital are requiring masks in those buildings however.

Emergency and health officials earlier in the week asked the community to help slow the spread of the disease. Middle and high school students were remote learning for most of last week with several cases among students and staff.

This is Petersburg’s second largest outbreak during the pandemic. Meanwhile the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services Saturday activated crisis care standards at 20 Alaska hospitals including Petersburg Medical Center. The move is meant to address shortages of resources and staffing at hospitals statewide. It includes guidelines for staff “to triage patients and resources to do the most amount of good for the most people in times of scarce resources,” according to a press release from DHSS.