Alaska is now first in the country in the number of coronavirus tests per resident.
Gov. Mike Dunleavy cited the statistic in his weekly news briefing on Tuesday.
“We’re working really hard at making sure we have tests available, we’re testing folks to let them know if they in fact have been infected, so they can get the medical care that they need,” Dunleavy said.
Alaskans have taken roughly 35 tests for every 100 residents, roughly three tests more than those in New York, the second-highest state.
Alaska has the second-lowest death rate of residents with the virus, after Hawaii.
But the share of Alaskans who test positive has been increasing. And state and local health officials have said the number of new cases has been growing faster than the ability of public health workers to investigate everyone who COVID-19 patients have had close contact with.
The state has updated its COVID-19 website with more information about testing. The average wait time to learn test results by borough is now available.
For example, over the past two weeks, the average time for health care facilities to process tests has ranged from two days in Petersburg to 7.9 days in Ketchikan Gateway Borough.
The share of tests that are positive by borough also is available on the site .
The news briefing also included new information on changes to testing related to travel that will go into effect on Aug. 11.
Out-of-state travelers will be required to either have a negative test taken within 72 hours of departing for Alaska, or proof that they have results of a test taken within 72 hours that are pending, according to Health and Social Services Commissioner Adam Crum. Until out-of-state travelers have a negative result, they will be required to self-quarantine.
Also, nonresident travelers who haven’t taken a test will still be able to take one on arrival in Alaska, but they will have to pay a fee, and will be required to quarantine until they have a result. Dunleavy had said last week that the state would stop testing nonresidents.
Crum said children 10 years old and younger won’t be required to have tests.
Crum also said tests also would be available at airports for Alaskans who are flying to rural communities.
Gov. Mike Dunleavy’s latest COVID-19 press conference is scheduled for 5 p.m. today.
Dunleavy will discuss changes to the travel protocols in Health Mandate 10 and the start of the new public school year. Joining him will be Department of Education and Early Development Commissioner Michael Johnson, Health and Social Services Commissioner Adam Crum and Chief Medical Officer Dr. Anne Zink.
State health officials reported 66 new cases of COVID-19 by Monday, the majority of them Alaska residents living in Anchorage.
Gov. Dunleavy’s administration has imposed several public health mandates that have reshaped daily life across Alaska to combat the spread of the virus. Those mandates and other Alaska-specific COVID-19 resources and information are available at coronavirus.alaska.gov.