Southeast’s regional tribal health provider SEARHC (Southeast Alaska Regional Health Consortium) says it’s broken the 1,000 mark on COVID-19 tests in the roughly two dozen communities it serves. 

SEARHC says it still has about 5,500 conventional and rapid tests on hand. Last month that figure hovered around 1,500.

The uptick in testing capacity is thanks to a “significant” number of tests from the Alaska Native Medical Center in Anchorage recently, according to an email from SEARHC spokesperson Maegan Bosak.

In Wrangell and Sitka, all elderly long-term care patients have been screened for coronavirus. So far just one resident in Sitka tested positive. There are no plans for further screening among residents though staff will be tested routinely every two weeks, the health provider says.

That’s part of a larger push by SEARHC to test all hospital and clinical staff.

Wrangell Medical Center Hospital Administrator Leatha Merculieff said she was among the first batch to be tested on Monday. 

“Bright and early at 8 o’clock. And by the way it hurt,” she says.

SEARHC has begun releasing some community-specific testing data on a weekly basis.