BETHEL, Alaska (AP) — The U.S. Census Bureau plans to restart its efforts to personally reach residents without a listed physical address.
The agency was expected to renew its door-to-door canvassing Wednesday after hand delivery of census materials that began March 15 was postponed by the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, KYUK-AM reported.
Teams delivering the materials have been trained to observe social distancing and will following federal health and safety guidelines, the Census Bureau said.
Temporary field staff will also use protective equipment provided by the government while distributing census materials to households, the agency said.
The bureau expects its field operation to deliver materials to 110,000 households in Alaska as part of the national census conducted every 10 years.
Less than 27% of Alaska households had completed the form by the first week of April, compared to the national response rate of nearly 43%.
Cook Inlet Housing Authority Chief Operating Officer Gabe Layman, who has assisted the nonprofit census education campaign Alaska Counts, previously said many households in remote areas of Alaska were unaware they could file census information online rather than wait for a personal visit.
Households can also submit information by phone, Layman said.
Alaska Counts has warned the state will not receive a fair share of federal funds and programs allocated using figures compiled by the census if the new count is not accurate.
For most people, the new coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough that clear up in two to three weeks. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia and death. The vast majority of people recover.