Municipality of Anchorage to Open Five Additional Testing Sites
On Friday, July 31, the Municipality of Anchorage will open five new COVID-19 testing sites.
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 new sites will be set up for drive-thru with walk-ups welcome, and will be open Mondays, 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Fridays, Noon. to 8 p.m.; and Saturdays, 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tests will be free to the public. The sites will be operated by Visit Healthcare, a healthcare company focused on emergency response, through October 20. The five sites are in addition to the existing Lake Otis Parkway testing location operated by Providence Health & Services Alaska. These sites are made possible by the willingness of local churches and municipal agencies to support the effort to contain community spread by promoting and increasing testing capacity.
In June, the Mayor’s Office and the Anchorage Health Department convened a working group of community experts, which included representatives from the State of Alaska, Anchorage Neighborhood Health Center, Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium, Providence Alaska Medical Center, Alaska Regional Hospital, Arctic Investigation Program, the Alaska Hospitalist Group, Medical Park Primary Care, and the University of Alaska Anchorage to develop a testing strategy for the Municipality of Anchorage. The strategy sets priorities for proactive testing to improve the Municipality’s ability to detect new cases of COVID-19 as early as possible and to limit wider transmission.
“Alarmingly, COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations are at the highest levels yet in Anchorage,” said Bill Falsey, Incident Commander at the Emergency Operations Center. “Increased testing capacity leads to quicker identification of cases and more effective disease containment. When we contain the spread of this virus, we preserve vital hospital capacity, save lives, and make it possible for Anchorage to operate at a level closer to normal.”
The Municipality encourages anyone with even mild symptoms or who may have been exposed to someone with COVID-19 to get tested. Referral from a clinician is not required at the five new locations. Symptoms include fever (over 100 F) or chills, cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, chest pressure or tightness, fatigue, muscle or body aches, loss of taste or smell, sore throat, congestion or runny nose, nausea or vomiting, and diarrhea. The new testing sites will also test asymptomatic individuals, or those who think they may have been exposed to someone with COVID-19 and are not showing symptoms. This site is not recommended for people needing a COVID-19 test before a medical procedure.
“Visit Healthcare is honored to be working with the Municipality of Anchorage on setting up five community testing sites across the city,” said Dr. Patrick Miles, Visit Healthcare’s Chief Medical Officer. “With the trend of increasing cases, and especially as we enter cold and flu season in the coming months, we hope that our testing sites will provide the people of Anchorage the ability to make sure they are not infected, and if they are, to take appropriate action.”
In addition to these five testing sites, Visit Healthcare will be performing regular, organized testing in congregate living facilities and for essential workers across the Municipality.
Given the sharp rise in COVID-19 cases in Anchorage, residents should continue to keep 6 feet apart from non-household members, wear a mask or cloth face covering in public settings, wash hands often, avoid large gatherings, and keep social bubbles small.
For more COVID-19 testing information visit www.muni.org/COVID-19.
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The August issue of Alaska Business features the inaugural Industrial Support Services special section and directory in which we place a spotlight on the organizations that help keep the state’s industries running smoothly. Alaska’s network of support services companies is nearly as vast as the state itself, encompassing an extensive and varied collection of companies.