On first day of new travel policy, someone tested positive for COVID-19 at Juneau’s airport

Travelers head into the terminal of Juneau International Airport on May 15, 2020.
Masked travelers head into the terminal of Juneau International Airport on May 15, 2020. Alaska Airlines requires passengers wear masks in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and CDC recommendations. (Photo by Jeremy Hsieh/KTOO)

On the first day a policy went into effect to test out-of-state travelers for COVID-19 as an alternative to quarantining, a test caught a positive case at Juneau International Airport. 

The City and Borough of Juneau announced this afternoon the traveler went through testing at the airport on Saturday. It’s Juneau’s first nonresident case of the virus. 

The city said the person who tested positive will be isolated for a minimum of 10 days. State public health workers are investigating who the individual was in close contact with, including on the airplane.

On Monday, the city’s emergency operations planning chief, Robert Barr, said the first weekend of testing at the airport was successful. He said 66 people arrived with negative tests in hand, which is one way to avoid quarantining. The person who tested positive would have been among the 147 passengers tested at the airport who came without results. 

Barr told the Juneau Assembly he was surprised at how high the pre-test rate was. 

“That’s actually pretty fantastic. If you would have asked me last week how many people would have come pre-tested, I would have guessed 5%. And that’s more like a third,” he said. 

Alaska Airlines was the only major airline flying into Juneau on Saturday. The company could not immediately be reached for comment. 

This story has been updated with more information about testing at the airport. 

Jeremy Hsieh

Local News Reporter, KTOO

I dig into questions about the forces and institutions that shape Juneau, big and small, delightful and outrageous. What stirs you up about how Juneau is built and how the city works?

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