More than 14,000 home COVID-19 test kits have been distributed in Juneau

Juneau’s Emergency Operations Manager Robert Barr and Rebecca Embler, a member of Bartlett Hospital quality team during Juneau’s COVID-19 vaccine clinic at Centennial Hall in Juneau on Jan. 15, 2021. (Photo by Rashah McChesney/KTOO)

More than 14,000 home COVID-19 testing kits have been distributed in Juneau. But Deputy City Manager Robert Barr said the supply may be limited.

“This looks like enough to me, based on our burn rate, to carry us through the end of the calendar year,” Barr said. “The supply that we’re getting is kind of touch and go. We’re getting enough to basically keep our distribution sites up and running, but not really enough to feel super-comfortable about it.”

He said these kits, which each contain two tests, are generally provided by the federal government to the state, which then distributes them to local agencies.

Barr said these tests aren’t as sensitive as the ones done at the airport or at the city’s drive-thru testing site. So, if you have a COVID-19 symptom or are a close contact of someone who has tested positive and you test negative on your first at-home test, the guidance is to use the second one 36 hours later “to have that extra level of certainty,” said Barr.

On the other hand, false positives with these tests are very rare. He said people with symptoms who test positive can trust those results. At that point, the advice for what to do is familiar:

“Really, if you test positive for one of these, the advice isn’t any different than what it has always been if you test positive at all,” Barr said. “And that is to begin an isolation period.”

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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