Southeast Alaska’s tribal health organization has tested patients for Covid-19 at most of its clinics and hospitals in the region. As of Monday, about 100 SEARHC patients had been tested for the disease — and none have come back positive, health officials say.
Nationwide, Covid-19 tests are being rationed. SEARHC says it has 1,400 tests available. That’s up 100 testing kits from last week.
Southeast Alaska Regional Health Consortium spokeswoman Maegan Bosak says there isn’t a specific number of tests the provider hopes to acquire. But more is better.
“We’re willing to take as many collecting specimen tests as we can get our hands on,” she says.
Alaska receives kits produced for the Centers for Disease Control and from commercial manufacturer LabCorp.
Patients in Juneau, Sitka, Wrangell, Klawock, and Haines can now access drive-through testing, with a referral from a doctor. But staff will first test for influenza which has similar symptoms to Covid-19.
“The thought in testing for the flu is to make sure those symptoms that a person might have are ruled out prior to going for specimen collection Covid-19 testing,” Bosak says.
SEARHC did not provide the number of coronavirus tests administered in each community. Bosak says this is out of privacy concerns for those small towns.
Any positive results will be made public by SEARHC and state health officials. As of Tuesday there are at least 37 cases in Alaska: two in Juneau and eight in Ketchikan.