President’s Message: COVID-19 Update

Like all of you, I am monitoring the coronavirus epidemic that has been making news headlines since late 2019. While there are no confirmed cases of the coronavirus (also known as COVID-19) in Alaska, the situation continues to evolve, and there are new developments and emerging information every day.

CIRI takes our responsibility to the well-being of our employees, shareholders and the community very seriously. A cross-company team is monitoring this issue to assess the impacts COVID-19 may have on our business, while ensuring we are taking measures that best protect our company and community. Through our regular contingency-planning process, CIRI is always prepared for unexpected events.

As the outbreak continues to unfold, we will keep our shareholders updated on any impacts to the corporation or the community through our regular communication channels, including the Raven’s Circle newsletter, the CIRI website and our social media outlets.

How can I protect myself?

Be safe! The most up-to-date information tells us that COVID-19 is most likely spread from person to person through coughing or sneezing. Particles may be inhaled, live on surfaces that people touch, or transferred by shaking hands or sharing a drink.

Similar to the common cold or flu, basic safety and hygiene measures remain the best defense against COVID-19:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are unavailable, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Maintain at least 3 feet between yourself and individuals showing signs of illness.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth without first washing your hands.
  • Get adequate sleep, eat well-balanced meals and drink plenty of water to ensure a healthy immune system.
  • Currently, face masks are not recommended for the general public in the U.S. The only reason to wear a surgical mask is if you’re already infected with the virus.

Additionally, to refrain from spreading ANY illness to others:

  • Stay home if you are feeling ill.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash. Be sure to wash your hands afterward.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.

CIRI is carefully monitoring the spread of COVID-19 and heeding the advice and directives of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Alaska Department of Health and Human Services, and reputable medical journals. Just as the number of people and countries affected by this new virus have spread, so has misinformation and unfounded claims about it; we owe it to ourselves and others to act on the most reliable information available.

While COVID-19 started in China, it has now spread to dozens of countries, making it impossible to attribute the virus to anyone based on race or nationality. One person is as susceptible to this virus as any other. We are all in this together, and I believe that we should all take good care of one another.

There are things we can do to prepare and not panic. Assess your personal circumstances when making travel plans or attending public gatherings. Some people are at higher risk of getting sick from the virus, including older adults and those with chronic medical conditions, such as asthma, diabetes and heart disease. While coronavirus can be deadly, around 80% of cases are mild to moderate, and most people recover within a week or two.

With an ever-evolving and uncertain scenario such as the one we are facing, it is completely understandable to be concerned. I remain hopeful that by staying informed and following some basic steps, we can all reduce our risk and protect others.

In good health,

Sophie Minich