Southeast Alaska’s regional health consortium — SEARHC (search) — says it’s expanding free weekend COVID-19 testing at the Wrangell clinic.

Starting on Saturday (July 11), self-swab nasal collection tests will be freely available in Wrangell for anyone, even those not showing coronavirus symptoms or referred by a doctor. Tribal beneficiaries will be eligible for the free testing at SEARHC’s clinic in Juneau.

SEARHC’s Chief Medical Officer Dr. Elliot Bruhl said in a Monday statement that  expanded community-wide testing is the most effective way to combat the pandemic.

“Asymptomatic testing will be a reality in the coming weeks and paint a clear picture of how COVID has penetrated our region,” he said.

SEARHC clinics in Haines and Klawock will begin asymptomatic testing on July 18. SEARHC hasn’t released dates for its other clinics in the region but they are expected to be offered on the weekends.

SEARHC says the expanded testing is being funded by a grant from Indian Health Services, a federal agency, within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

As of Wednesday, SEARHC has reported more than 12,000 COVID tests with more than 800 pending. It says it has more than 23,000 test kits available.

Those tests had been given to people exhibiting symptoms and its employees, including medical staff that came into contact with COVID-19 patients.

More information on SEARHC’s COVID-19 testing is available at or by calling (907) 966-8799 or contact the local clinic at 874-4700.