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As state lowers threshold for testing, CCFR’s Drive-Thru Testing has daily openings

April 10, 2020 – News

According to the state, 1.32 percent of Juneau’s population has been tested for COVID-19 as of April 10. That equals 422 tests, not including pending tests. Cumulatively, 15 of those have come back positive. To encourage more broad testing because many people with COVID-19 present with very mild illness, the State of Alaska has lowered the threshold for testing.

“Testing is an important way for us to understand this disease. If we don’t know that it’s there, it’s hard for us to know how much personal protective gear we need, how many hospital beds we need, are the social mitigation strategies really helping. When we’re thinking about, how do we open things back up, testing is a key component of that. So making sure that we’re testing broadly around the state is really, really important to do,” Alaska’s Chief Medical Officer Anne Zink said during the governor’s press conference April 9.

As of April 8, state guidelines advise health care providers to test individuals who have:

  • a new onset of cough, shortness of breath, or difficulty breathing; OR
  • a new onset of two or more of the following: chills, diminished sense of taste or smell, diarrhea, fatigue, fever (measured or subjective), headache, muscle/joint aches, nausea, rigors, runny nose, sore throat, or sputum production.

Capital City Fire/Rescue’s Drive-Thru Testing Center at the Hagevig Fire Training Center has the capability to test more people – up to 40 a day – than it’s presently doing. In order to be tested there, people in Juneau have to call the COVID-19 Screening Hotline first, 586-6000, daily from noon to 6 p.m. Testing at the center will be arranged if appropriate, and is done by appointment only. If someone meets the criteria for testing but is homebound or has no transportation, a community paramedic can conduct an in-home test. Please note — if you are symptomatic and have a primary medical provider, call your provider first. Calling your provider ensures proper follow-up care. The hotline is available as an alternative and for individuals who don’t have a medical provider. People who test should isolate while awaiting test results.

For more local news, information, and resources to help keep Juneau safe and healthy, go to juneau.org/covid-19.