Voluntary screenings begin at Juneau airport as local leaders advise would-be travelers to stay home

Namfon Noisai gets her tempoerature checked by Capital City Fire and Rescue's Lily Kincaid during a voluntary screening at the Juneau International Airport on Saturday, March 21, 2020 in Juneau, Alaska. Lily Kincaid asks Richard Clarke questions about where he traveled and who he was with before taking his temperature on Saturday, March 21, 2020 in Juneau, Alaska. The airport sees multiple daily flights to and from Seattle — one of the epicenters of coronavirus spread in the United States. Passengers arriving at the airport can request to have their temperature checked. Anyone with a temperature above 100.4 degrees will be advised to contact medical providers and to self-quarantine. (Photo by Rashah McChesney/KTOO)
Namfon Noisai gets her temperature checked by Capital City Fire and Rescue’s Lily Kincaid during a voluntary screening at the Juneau International Airport on Saturday, March 21, 2020 in Juneau. The airport sees multiple daily flights to and from Seattle — one of the epicenters of coronavirus spread in the United States. Passengers arriving at the airport can request to have their temperature checked. (Photo by Rashah McChesney/KTOO)

As more positive cases of COVID-19 continue to appear in Alaska, the City and Borough of Juneau is eyeing the community’s main point of entry: the airport.

The Juneau International Airport sees multiple daily flights to and from Seattle — one of the epicenters of coronavirus spread in the United States. Starting Thursday, passengers arriving at the airport can request to have their temperature checked.

Anyone with a temperature above 100.4 degrees will be advised to contact medical providers and to self-quarantine.

Capital City Fire/Rescue Chief Rich Etheridge said EMTs are stationed outside the departure lounge exit. They estimate they’ve screened about 50% to 70% of passengers exiting the airport so far.

The Juneau Assembly voted unanimously Thursday to send a letter to Gov. Mike Dunleavy urging him to officially restrict non-essential travel.

On Friday, the state issued a health advisory recommending Alaskans avoid non-essential travel in and outside the state.

Assembly member Greg Smith said it’s important for Juneau residents to avoid travel right now to prevent possibly transmitting the virus.

“We’ve seen from the recent cases, the confirmed cases in Alaska, that they’ve been travel-related,” Smith said Friday. “We know we don’t have the screening and the testing that we need, and as a result, it’s important for people to take action to really reduce the transmission of this virus.”

Earlier this week, the state issued a health mandate requiring anyone returning from countries with widespread coronavirus transmission to self-quarantine for 14 days.

Smith recommends that anyone who has been outside of Juneau do the same.

This post has been updated.

 

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