Wrangell seeks ‘COVID greeter’ to tell visitors about local mandates

A white camper trailer used for COVID testing
While community COVID-19 testing used to take place at the airport, it’s now run from SEARHC’s testing trailer from 12-4 p.m. Monday through Saturday. (Sage Smiley/KSTK)

In late September, Wrangell’s community COVID-19 test site moved from the airport to the hospital, a little over a mile away. But Wrangell’s local government mandates testing for unvaccinated people arriving in the community.

So the emergency operations center is looking to hire a greeter to help air passengers find their way to the testing site.

Borough Manager Lisa Von Bargen says the EOC developed the position “to be able to try to provide folks at the airport to assist with providing information, since the testing is no longer being held there, it’s up at the at the clinic, or to provide information, whether it be answering phones or wherever we may find we need an information greeter.”

That information could include telling arriving people about local mandates, where to test and access to COVID-19 vaccines.

The greeter would report to the local emergency operations manager and could provide information at the ferry terminal, harbors or other locations where people might be arriving.

And there could be more than one greeter working at a time.

“Likely this will be more than one person because you can’t have coverage [of] both flights seven days a week with just one person,” Von Bargen said. “So it may be two or three different people that are serving this need at different times.”

Wrangell’s assembly approved the position, with Jim DeBord as the only ‘no’ vote. DeBord did not explain his opposition.

The position will earn the same hourly wage as a city clerical position, just over $15 per hour. The position does not include benefits.

Von Bargen says the city will pay for the positions through an unspent $125,000 grant from the state meant to help boost local COVID-19 testing and vaccinations.

The position is expected to last through at least the end of the year, when Wrangell’s testing mandates are slated to expire. Unless renewed, the state’s contract for cost-free COVID testing for incoming travelers will expire then as well.

KSTK - Wrangell

KSTK is our partner station in Wrangell. KTOO collaborates with partners across the state to cover important news and to share stories with our audiences.

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