Free rapid COVID test kits available for Mat-Su residents

Published: Nov. 17, 2021 at 5:56 PM AKST
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - When it comes to getting vaccinated against COVID-19, the Matanuska-Susitna Borough has one of the lowest rates in the state. But health officials are excited about a new testing option that could help keep the virus from spreading.

The Mat-Su Health Foundation has purchased 26,000 in-home, rapid COVID-19 test kits and are offering them for free to Mat-Su residents. The test kits are available at city halls, churches, food pantries and even public libraries.

“They’re in every corner of our borough from Sutton to Talkeetna and Trapper Creek,” foundation CEO Elizabeth Ripley said.

Ripley said the hope is that people will test more often if the tests are private, fast and free.

“Folks talk about waiting four hours in line to get a test because they’ve had an exposure,” Ripley said. “Well, within the privacy of your own home in 15 minutes you can get the results.”

Ripley said a positive result almost always means the person has COVID-19. The antigen tests are not as accurate if someone gets a negative result, which is why the kits contain two tests so that people can repeat them a day or two later.

“If it comes up positive and you weren’t sure or you had no idea, this gives you a chance to protect people you that care about,” Ripley said.

Ripley added that people who test positive should self isolate and seek follow up care with a health care provider as soon as possible. Ripley also said people don’t need to be ill or have symptoms to pick up a test kit. In fact, the health foundation would prefer that Mat-Su residents take them home and keep them on hand. Local resource center Connect Mat-Su has a list of where the kits are available on their website.

A COVID-19 info line at 907-373-2628 extension 2 can help people with questions about the test kits or COVID-19. The line is staffed Monday through Friday from 8 a. m. to 5 p.m.

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