SITKA – To expedite the coronavirus (COVID-19) testing process and eliminate unnecessary contamination of primary care clinics, the SouthEast Alaska Regional Health Consortium (SEARHC) recently opened alternative testing sites in five communities.
Patients in Juneau, Sitka, Wrangell, Haines, and Klawock can now receive a referral for drive-by testing, which allows patients to remain in their vehicle while being seen by a SEARHC clinician.
“The steps required to isolate an area and conduct a test on a possible COVID-19 patient are significant,” said SEARHC Vice President and Chief Medical Officer Dr. Elliot Bruhl. “Our organization is preparing for the inevitable spike in testing as the virus progresses and available test quantities increase. Through the introduction of accessible, dedicated testing sites, we are creating a more efficient system with increased levels of safety for patients and staff.”
Appointments may be required for testing. For information on screening in your community, please call:
- Juneau – 907.463.4040
- Sitka – 907.966.8799
- Wrangell – 907.874.4700
- Klawock – 907.755.4800
- Haines – 907.766.6300
Each alternative testing site is manned by a SEARHC clinician in approved personal protection equipment (PPE), including mask, goggles, gloves, and gown. If the patient meets the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) approved guidelines, they will be scheduled for a drive-by appointment during regular business hours. Patients will be tested for influenza, and if negative for influenza, be administered a COVID-19 test.
CDC guidelines state that patients must be exhibiting symptoms of COVID 19 (fever and cough, or shortness of breath) and meet the current clinical criteria, including close contact with a confirmed case; travel outside of Alaska within 14 days; or determined to be a high-risk patient.
SEARHC recommends that patients adhere to all local, state, and federal mandates encouraging social distancing throughout the pandemic. If you are sick, stay home. If you have traveled outside of Alaska in the last 14 days, self-isolate. Patients with chronic illnesses, such as diabetes, cancer, or immune compromise, should contact their doctor immediately if they become ill. Please adhere to the CDC preventive methods to deter respiratory disease, including washing your hands thoroughly and often, covering coughs and sneezes, cleaning and disinfecting surfaces and objects, and getting a flu shot.
For up-to-date information on the coronavirus and contact information for the SEARHC provider nearest you, visit covid19.searhc.org.