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Anchorage announces new COVID-19 testing sites

was written by Lex Treinen, Alaska Public Media – Anchorage , 2020-07-29 23:54:13

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The Lake Otis coronavirus testing site on July 28, 2020, when the city sent out an alert warning of traffic disruption due to long lines (Matt Faubion/Alaska Public Media)

Anchorage’s Emergency Operations Center announced it is opening five new testing sites around the city. 

Tests at the new locations will be free and open to the public three days a week and do not require a referral from a doctor. The sites will be open Mondays, Fridays and Saturdays and open for walk-up or drive-through. 

Patients seeking tests at the existing test site have reported wait times of several hours in recent weeks as COVID-19 infections have risen. 

RELATED: Anchorage School District again delays the start of sports

After putting the contract out for bid, the city settled on a California company, Visit Healthcare as part of a $5.5 million, three-month contract paid for with money from FEMA. Part of the reason is the company’s ability to do testing, said Audrey Gray, with the city’s Emergency Operations Center. Around the country, shortages of materials required for testing have led to delays in getting test results back. But Gray said that the company assured Anchorage officials it has the capacity to handle Anchorage’s tests. 

“The company is hoping for a 24- to 48-hour turnaround time for those tests, but we’re still waiting to see if that’s going to happen or not,” she said. 

RELATED: Alaska to stop testing nonresident travelers for COVID-19 at airports, require negative result

She says that she expects the only potential for delays will be issues with getting samples from Alaska to California for processing. 

“Whether it be weather or other things, or maybe there’s a plane that’s broken that the tests were supposed to go on,” she said. 

The sites will also be performing regular, organized testing in congregate living facilities and for essential workers. 

The five testing sites will be located in the parking lots of the following:

– ChangePoint Church, 6689 Changepoint Drive

– Fairview Community Recreation Center, 1121 East 10th Avenue

– Anchorage Church of Christ, 2700 Debarr Road

– Muldoon Community Assembly, 7041 Debarr Road

– Z.J. Loussac Library, 3600 Denali Street

The testing sites will be open Mondays from 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.; Fridays from 12:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.; and Saturdays from 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.

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Glacier Bay National Park. Glacier Bay is located in southeast Alaska, around 60 air miles west of the state capital of Juneau. The closest town is Gustavus, Alaska located 11 miles away. Glacier Bay National Park now encompasses over 3 million acres, and is often recognised as one of the Crown Jewels of the National Park system. The Park has snow-capped mountain ranges ascending to in excess of 15,000 feet, seaside beaches with protected coves, deep fjords, tidewater glaciers, coastal and estuarine waters, and fresh water lakes. In addition to magnificent scenery, there are abundant wildlife watching possibilities along with a wide assortment of seabirds, marine and land mammals. Many visitors experience Glacier Bay National Park while on large cruiseships that visit the Park for the day, whereas others stay within the Park at the Glacier Bay Lodge. Even though there are no roads to Glacier Bay National Park, you will find convenient air connections to Gustavus from Juneau, Skagway and Haines. Ferry service is also offered by Juneau. From Gustavus it is about 10 miles by road to Glacier Bay Lodge & Tours located at Bartlett cove and hosts visitor center and departure point for day boat excursions to Glacier Bay National Park. Accommodations inside Glacier Bay National Park are at the Glacier Bay Lodge. The hotel includes 56 rooms with dining, activities desk, gift shop, and the Park visitor center is located upstairs. Just about all rooms possess private bath and/or shower and can accommodate as many as four guests. Glacier Bay Lodge is open mid-May to mid-September each year.

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