Wrangell officials say the island is seeing a spike of COVID-19 cases in the wake of Fourth of July celebrations. But because of the proliferation of at-home testing kits, it’s not quite clear how large the spike actually is.
Alaska state data show 46 COVID cases in Wrangell in the last week (between July 6-12), from tests done by the Wrangell Medical Center and reported to the state Department of Public Health. At-home testing kits aren’t factored into that number. And with testing kits available by mail and at Wrangell’s hospital and Public Safety Building, the number of COVID cases in town is surely much higher, hospital officials say.
Posts on local social media pages also indicate a much larger spike, with residents noting staffing shortages due to the rise of illness in town, and one local restaurant specially making soup the daily special for sick customers with sore throats.
For those who are concerned they have COVID-19, the Wrangell Medical Center offers drive-up testing by appointment. The pharmacy also has at-home testing kits to distribute, and at-home kits are also available at the fire hall on Zimovia Highway.
COVID-positive individuals should follow current quarantine guidance from the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, hospital officials say. For most individuals, that’s a five-day quarantine after testing positive, with another five days of mask-wearing when in public settings.
The Wrangell Medical Center also has a number of COVID treatments for high-risk individuals. But they say most people who are infected won’t need to be seen by a doctor or to take a COVID-specific treatment.
Anyone with questions or concerns can call the Wrangell Medical Center at 907-874-7000, or contact Wrangell’s public health nurse at 907-772-4611.
This article has been updated with the most recent COVID-19 data from the State of Alaska.
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