Curbside coronavirus testing available in some Southeast Alaska communities

Sky Womack, of Juneau Urgent & Family Care, administers a drive-up test for coronavirus on Thursday, March 19, 2020 in Juneau, Alaska. (Photo courtesy Alicia McGuire)
Sky Womack, of Juneau Urgent and Family Care, administers a drive-up test for coronavirus on Thursday in Juneau. (Photo courtesy Alicia McGuire)

Two Southeast Alaska organizations are offering curbside testing for coronavirus.

Southeast Alaska Regional Health Consortium will offer curbside testing in five Southeast communities.

Possible COVID-19 patients in Juneau, Sitka, Wrangell, Haines and Klawock will be tested for the virus from their vehicles. A vehicle is not required to get a test. Walk-up patients will be swabbed.

The goal is to keep contamination out of primary care facilities.

Juneau and Sitka SEARHC facilities began curbside testing on Thursday. The group has access to 1,300 specimen collection kits. The organization expects test results will take two to three days.

In a press release, SEARHC Chief Medical Officer Dr. Elliott Bruhl said the organization is “preparing for the inevitable spike in testing as the virus progresses and available test quantities increase.”

Test sites will be staffed by SEARHC clinicians wearing masks, goggles, gloves and gowns. Patients will first be tested for the flu. If that test is negative, they will get the COVID-19 test. Patients must have a referral to be tested and may need an appointment.

Juneau Urgent and Family Care is also offering community-level drive up testing for coronavirus.

A spokesperson from the clinic said patients must call 907-790-4111 or e-register at their website prior to coming into the clinic.

Both organizations are following federal and state guidelines to determine who should be tested.

That means, patients must show symptoms of the virus — fever, cough and shortness of breath — as well as meet CDC requirements, which are that the patient must have had contact with a confirmed case, travel outside Alaska within 14 days, or be high risk.


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