Rainforest Recovery Center delays reopening

A cot inside of the Rainforest Recovery Center after city officials converted the drug and alcohol rehabilitation center into an emergency spillover shelter for COVID-19. (Photo by Rashah McChesney/KTOO)

Rainforest Recovery Center has delayed plans to reopen for at least another month.

The substance abuse treatment center had planned to reopen by the end of July. But Bradley Grigg, chief behavioral health officer for Bartlett Regional Hospital, said they had to postpone.

“At this point we are targeting, hopefully, the week of Labor Day,” Grigg said Friday. “There’s a chance it could be the week before that, but our hope is the week of Labor Day.”

The delay is partly due to construction inside the clinic, but Juneau’s steady uptick of COVID-19 cases has also raised concern that the center may need to be used as an overflow care site for the hospital.

When the pandemic began, Rainforest sent patients home and turned the clinic into an overflow site in case the hospital ran out of room.

Since then, the center has started offering telehealth outpatient services for patients in recovery.

When the center does reopen for inpatient substance abuse treatment, they’ll have only six to eight patients.

The closure has left people in Juneau and other parts of Southeast Alaska with few options for residential treatment.

“We’ve got families who are calling and saying, ‘When are you going to be open again?’ and obviously, some were hoping we’d be opening this week or next week,” Grigg said. “So we’re working with those families to try to get them to the services they need, and if they can’t leave town to go to residential we’re offering them interim support services.”

Grigg said the center can help connect people who need residential treatment to other programs that may be reopening around the state.