State to begin using AAC for COVID-19 treatment

by Cathy Sandeen, UAA Chancellor  |   

Dear UAA Community,

The Alaska Department of Health and Social Services (DHSS) announced today the State of Alaska has established a temporary, outpatient, state-run infusion center at the Alaska Airlines Center (AAC) to deliver treatments for COVID-19 using monoclonal antibodies.

What you should know about this treatment
The FDA has issued an emergency use authorization for this new COVID-19 treatment, which is delivered by intravenous infusion. If used early in the treatment of COVID-19 patients, these drugs can reduce the severity of infection and the chance of hospitalization for high-risk patients. This is a very positive step forward.

In addition to the state-run infusion center, DHSS is distributing these new treatments to hospitals across the state with the equipment and expertise necessary to manage medication delivery. To receive these drugs, patients must meet the FDA’s emergency use authorization criteria. A physician’s referral is required. Patients must have tested positive, be within 10 days of symptom onset and among those at highest risk for hospitalization due to COVID-19.

An infusion center is different from an alternate care site
DHSS is not activating the alternate care site that is located in the AAC. That site remains available for use if needed. Instead, the state is using the AAC contract with UAA to temporarily house the infusion center. The center will begin treating patients today. Initially, treatment will be limited to 15 patients per day. The center will be open three days a week with plans to expand to seven days. Access to the temporary outpatient infusion center is by appointment only.

How does this affect UAA?
As mentioned in a recent communication, UAA has no active operations in the AAC at this time, and no athletics activities are taking place there. The AAC will be cleaned and disinfected daily. Before the state concludes its use of the facility, it will deep-clean the AAC per CDC COVID-19 cleaning guidance with approved EPA disinfectants.

Other updates

  • Quarantine protocols: Although the CDC, State of Alaska and Municipality of Anchorage have announced some additional options for quarantine that could affect university policies, UAA will continue to follow the 14-day quarantine protocol through the end of the calendar year. There is no change to our quarantine protocols at this time.
  • Safety measures: Although the state is expecting to receive doses of the COVID-19 vaccine, those doses will be prioritized for health care workers and high-risk populations. In the meantime, continue to wear a mask, wash your hands, stay six feet away from others and limit your contact with people outside your household.

I continue to be proud of UAA’s contributions to support the municipality and state’s COVID-19 response. Let’s continue to do our part to slow the spread of COVID-19 on our campuses and in our communities.

Cathy Sandeen
UAA Chancellor

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