Alaska requiring negative virus tests for nonresident travel

Alaska requiring negative virus tests for nonresident travel

JUNEAU, Alaska — Nonresident travellers to Alaska will need to show they tested negative for COVID-19 shortly before arriving as part of an effort aimed at minimizing cases and preserving testing supplies and protective gear, Gov. Mike Dunleavy said.

“We’re not trying to make this difficult for folks to come here,” Dunleavy said during a Tuesday evening news conference. “We just want to make sure that we are taking care of Alaskans first.”

The changes take effect Aug. 11 and will require nonresidents arrive with negative results from a test taken 72 hours before arrival. Dunleavy said enforcement details are being worked out.

Currently, travellers have several testing options, including taking a test within three to five days of leaving for Alaska and being tested at an airport location when they arrive in Alaska. Those opting not to test can quarantine for 14 days. Under quarantine, one is to leave their location only for medical emergencies or necessary medical care.

Dunleavy indicated quarantine would no longer be an option for nonresident travellers under the new protocols.

“We feel it’s best to just go straight to a testing approach that requires folks coming in to have a negative,” he said. “So, if you come to Alaska, you should have a negative.”

Some people will say this is a burden or problematic, he said.

“There’s no doubt that every aspect of our lives is going to be impacted by this virus, including travel,” Dunleavy said.

Alaska residents still can be tested at airports, he said.

Dr. Anne Zink, the state’s chief medical officer, said there has been a “rapid increase” in new cases among residents and nonresidents. Travel does not appear to be the main driver of the recent increase in cases among Alaska residents, according to a slide she presented Tuesday.

Many of the new resident cases are among those in their 20s, with cases among residents in their 20s and 30s up, according to the slide.

Zink urged residents to avoid large gatherings, particularly those indoors; to wear face coverings in public, particularly when near others; and to wash their hands as a way to slow the virus’ spread.

The state has reported nearly 2,800 cases of COVID-19 involving residents and 645 involving nonresidents. It also has reported 22 COVID-19-related deaths.

The Municipality of Anchorage said Wednesday it was opening five additional testing sites. Mayor Ethan Berkowitz recently imposed limits on gathering sizes and the number of people allowed in bars, restaurants and entertainment venues in response to rising coronavirus cases there.

Bill Falsey, incident commander at the municipal emergency operations centre, in a release said increased testing capacity “leads to quicker identification of cases and more effective disease containment.”

For most people, the coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness and death.

Becky Bohrer, The Associated Press

Coronavirus

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

UCP government making changes to the Assessment Model Review; County of Wetaskiwin could see a 70 per cent hike in taxes

Changes would cause a 35.5-70.7 per cent residential mill rate for the County of Wetaskiwin.

COVID-19: One more death reported in central zone

Number of active cases has decreased by more than 200 since last week

Thorsby RCMP investigate August long weekend shooting

Thorsby RCMP arrest youth in relation to the late night shooting.

Wetaskiwin businesses robbed tail end of August long weekend

Multiple businesses off of 56 Street in Wetaskiwin, Alta. were broken into.

Protestors for Indigenous Lives Matter gather in Wetaskiwin

Protestors for Indigenous Lives Matter gathered in Wetaskiwin, Alta. Tuesday August 4,… Continue reading

Piscotty hits A’s 2nd walkoff slam this year, beats Rangers

Piscotty hits A’s 2nd walkoff slam this year, beats Rangers

McDavid gets first playoff hat trick, Oilers beat Chicago 6-3 in NHL qualifiers

McDavid gets first playoff hat trick, Oilers beat Chicago 6-3 in NHL qualifiers

Triumphant return for retooled Marlins, who beat Orioles 4-0

Triumphant return for retooled Marlins, who beat Orioles 4-0

Aho, Reimer help Hurricanes beat Rangers 4-1 for sweep

Aho, Reimer help Hurricanes beat Rangers 4-1 for sweep

Emerging young stars stand out at MLS tournament

Emerging young stars stand out at MLS tournament

Leafs solve Korpisalo, but lose Muzzin as Toronto evens series with Columbus 1-1

Leafs solve Korpisalo, but lose Muzzin as Toronto evens series with Columbus 1-1

Calgary Flames take 2-1 series lead with 6-2 win over Winnipeg Jets

Calgary Flames take 2-1 series lead with 6-2 win over Winnipeg Jets

Riley’s 3-run homer helps Fried, Braves beat Blue Jays 10-1

Riley’s 3-run homer helps Fried, Braves beat Blue Jays 10-1

Most Read