UPDATED 3-17-20, 6 PM: On Tuesday afternoon, a person in Ketchikan tested positive for the COVID-19 coronavirus. This is the first confirmed case in Southeast Alaska, and the fourth in the state.
Testing for coronavirus is underway across Southeast Alaska. The Southeast Alaska Regional Health Consortium is testing throughout the region. SEARHC spokeswoman Maegan Bosak says the tribal health organization has about 1,300 test kits available across 28 communities.
“I know that there’s been tests in Haines, Klawock, Wrangell, Sitka, and Juneau. They have come back negative, they have all come back negative,” Bosak said in an interview with KSTK on Monday.
Bosak could not confirm how many tests are available in any one community.
When it comes to who would and would not be tested, SEARHC staff are taking its cues from state public health officials and the Centers for Disease Control. To qualify for a test, patients must show symptoms such as coughing and a fever higher than 100.4 degrees and have been exposed to a high-risk area.
“Have they had contact with someone that has tested positive for Covid -19? Have they traveled out of the state?” said Bosak.
SEARHC clinicians are recommending that anyone who believes they may have coronavirus to call in advance so staff can prepare accordingly. That includes providing a mask for the patients and protective gear for the staff.
In Sitka, people can call 907.966.2411 to request coronavirus screening.