A letter obtained by The Blue Alaskan, written by Dr. Kristen Walkinshaw, states that Providence Alaska Medical Center has instituted “crisis standards of care.”

Mikal Canfield with Providence Media Relations, confirmed the details in an email.

The letter says that healthcare workers are no longer able to provide the standard of care to each and every patient who needs help and that “the acuity and number of patients now exceeds our resources and our ability to staff beds with skilled caregivers, like nurses and respiratory therapists. We have been forced within our hospital to implement crisis standards of care.”

Crisis standards of care (CSC) is when health care systems are so overwhelmed by a pervasive or catastrophic public health event it is impossible for them to provide the normal, or standard, level of care to patients. In situations like this, legal and regulatory protections and guidance by the state government would occur to recognize health care systems are in crisis operations that may last for some time. 

Letter 2

Healthcare officials have been sounding the alarm for weeks that, without direct intervention and the implementation of COVID-19 mitigation strategies designed to slow the volume of patients frequenting Anchorage hospitals, the city faced a potential collapse of its healthcare system.

On August 21, Anchorage Infectious Disease Expert Dr. Clancy told the Anchorage Assembly that she goes home with a little bit of panic each day, saying:

“We either need to choose to do something on a community level to slow down the volume in the hospital, or we’re really choosing healthcare collapse in this city.”

Anchorage Mayor David Bronson, backed by the “Save Anchorage” Facebook group, has steadfastly refused to implement any mandated measures to keep the city’s residents safe and many city residents believe the mayor is capitulating to the demands of those who supported him during the mayoral election and is not taking the COVID-19 pandemic seriously.

Many of the mayor’s supporters have verbally attacked healthcare workers online and spread misinformation about mask-wearing and vaccinations, often referring to the pandemic as a “hoax.” Bronson’s supporters have decried mandated mask-wearing as “tyranny” and “government overreach.”

Assemblymembers Meg Zaletel and Pete Petersen will introduce a resolution at tonight’s assembly meeting — once again asking Mayor Bronson to direct that masks or face coverings be required in public indoor areas of Municipal buildings, and to promote COVID mitigation measures when the Municipality of Anchorage is at substantial or high alert levels for community transmission of COVID-19.

It’s not clear if the mayor, who has questioned whether there ever was a pandemic, will be moved by Providence’s news that the crisis healthcare officials have been warning about for weeks has finally arrived.

This is a developing story and will be updated with more information as it becomes available.

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