Wrangell is in one of its largest COVID outbreaks of the pandemic as of Thursday (March 31). That’s according to state data. And the case count could be higher, with at-home tests leaving potential gaps in reporting.
The state has reported 34 new COVID cases within the last week, and 48 within the last two weeks. That’s only the cases reported to the state by the Wrangell Medical Center’s testing program – at-home test kits that come back positive aren’t automatically reported.
Wrangell officials announced the community was at a “Medium Alert” level last Thursday (March 24). That’s based on the current alert levels published by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
It’s a different measurement than the alert level used by the state of Alaska, which places Wrangell in a “High” alert as of March 30.
Wrangell officials stopped reporting COVID cases to the public about two weeks ago, citing reduced communication from the state on COVID cases and the availability of at-home tests in the community.
An official from Wrangell’s Emergency Operations Center told KSTK Thursday that there hasn’t been a major uptick in community requests for at-home test kits in recent weeks. The EOC is no longer meeting regularly, and most recently met to discuss publishing the community’s CDC risk level.
Wrangell’s public schools made masks optional earlier this month after students and parents petitioned the school board to relax mitigation measures. Other civic facilities don’t require masks or enforce social distancing. But Wrangell’s EOC still recommends that masks be worn indoors and encourages people to get tested before attending gatherings.
At-home COVID tests are available to the community for free at the Fire Hall. Call 907-874-3223 to set up pickup. Tests are also available at the Wrangell Medical Center, which can be scheduled by calling 907-874-7000.
COVID-19 case information from the state of Alaska can be found at covid19.alaska.gov. Wrangell’s local risk level and other local COVID-19 announcements can be found at wrangell.com on the COVID-19 resource page.
Get in touch with KSTK at firstname.lastname@example.org or (907) 874-2345.