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SEARHC Hospital Staff Receive COVID-19 Tests

SITKA, – The SouthEast Alaska Regional Health Consortium (SEARHC) recently administered COVID-19 tests on all staff at Mt. Edgecumbe Medical Center (MEMC) and Wrangell Medical Center (WMC). Both hospitals utilized Metropolitan Medical Response System (MMRS) tents outside the respective facilities to safely conduct staff tests off-site.

SEARHC recently received additional COVID-19 testing supply kits from Alaska Native Medical Center in Anchorage. Along with the recent addition of rapid test kits throughout the Consortium, the influx of supplies allowed for testing MEMC and WMC staff. Previously, SEARHC introduced a volunteer testing program for all employees, with hopes to implement additional community testing initiatives as COVID19 test quantities expand.

“Leadership identified the testing of all hospital staff as a necessity to ensure safety within our facilities,” said SEARHC Vice President and Chief Medical Officer Dr. Elliot Bruhl. “MEMC and WMC have been conducting daily temperature checks and health screenings on all staff since March. By testing all hospital staff for COVID-19, we have an opportunity to potentially identify asymptomatic positive cases in our communities.”

COVID-19 tests remain available to all patients who meet the symptomatic guidelines, regardless of travel or exposure criteria. Current symptoms triggering a test include fever, chills/rigors, cough, shortness of breath/difficulty breathing, diarrhea, diminished sense of smell/taste, fatigue, headache, rash, runny nose, and sore throat.

Service lines are open in all communities, with extra precautions taken to deliver care during the pandemic. Patients are encouraged to keep up with preventative care plans for chronic diseases, along with treatment for acute and urgent care. Contact your provider to discuss available appointment options, including telehealth. Vigorous decontamination and mandatory health screenings remain in place in all locations throughout the Consortium.

SEARHC urges all residents to continue practicing preventative measures for respiratory disease – including proper hand hygiene, covering of coughs and sneezes, frequent disinfection of surfaces, and receiving an influenza vaccination – and to adhere to local and state health mandates. For more information, including contact information for COVID-19 testing in your community, visit covid19.searhc.org.