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Anchorage restores COVID-19 testing hours with additional funding

Published: Oct. 18, 2021 at 9:18 PM AKDT
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - The municipality of Anchorage is increasing the hours that people can go and get tested for COVID-19 at city-run sites after the Anchorage Assembly last week approved $2.65 million in funding to bring the testing back up to prior levels.

Hours at testing sites in Anchorage had been reduced in order to stretch funding for testing through the end of October. Now, with funding approved to continue testing at previous levels through the end of November, the municipality will increase availability from 120 hours per week to 192 hours per week.

Anchorage Health Department Director Joe Gerace said the testing centers operated by the municipality have done more than 310,000 tests since the city has started a testing program. Starting Monday, the city is extending testing hours with options from as early as 6 a.m. to as late as 8 p.m.

“We realized from some feedback from the community that we didn’t have great morning and evening hours, so people that had kids that were sick didn’t really have a way to get a test until 8 a.m. at the earliest,” Gerace said. “So we realized having some early morning (hours), and then after if they pick a kid up from school or if they’re on their way home from work and they’re not feeling well, they can still get tested at the same time.”

The current testing sites include the Loussac Library parking lot, ChangePoint Church, the Muldoon Community Assembly and one in Eagle River.

The city is not looking at opening new testing locations, but Gerace says they are working with community partners to get privately-run testing sites that were operating in the past to reopen.

“Test volume’s held pretty steady,” Gerace said. “We’re doing upwards 1,500 tests a day.”

If people have tested positive for COVID-19 and are experiencing symptoms, they can head to either the Tikahtnu Commons or the Golden Lion Hotel on 36th Avenue to get monoclonal antibody treatment, if appropriate in their case. Those locations can also test people on site if they are feeling ill but have not yet tested positive for COVID-19.

“So if you feel like you’re COVID-positive or you’ve had a COVID positive test, they will either test you or confirm that you’re positive and initiate treatment right there in partnership with a medical provider, so you don’t need a doctor referral,” Gerace said. “If you’re feeling sick, you should get yourself to one of our two treatment locations and get treated with the (monoclonal antibodies) if the medical provider on site feels that’s appropriate for your care.”

The municipality is not looking to change these hours anytime soon, so for more information on getting tested check the availability and locations on the city’s website.

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