COVID-19 testing for select critical infrastructure workers will begin at both the Anchorage and Fairbanks airports this week. Testing collection sites will be set up at Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport near the arrival gates and at Fairbanks International Airport near Baggage Claim 2.
“We’re scaling up testing across Alaska and offering it to critical infrastructure workers where it makes the most sense to do so,” said Alaska Department of Health and Social Services Commissioner Adam Crum. “This airport venue is not for widespread testing but is another example of pop-up testing happening in various locations across the state to meet the needs of Alaskans and our critical infrastructure workers.”
The airport testing is primarily for workers who fly into Anchorage or Fairbanks before traveling on to remote locations or into the field and who don’t have other feasible testing options. Preregistration with the testing vendors is required before the workers land in Alaska. Some wildland firefighters and fisheries workers will be among the essential workers tested at the two airports.
Workers who are tested at the airports will remain in quarantine in either Anchorage or Fairbanks until test results are returned. After that they will continue on to their work site where they will finish their 14-day quarantine and adhere to protocols in their employer’s critical infrastructure protective plan. Samples will be transported to the Alaska State Public Health Laboratories in Anchorage or Fairbanks. Results from those labs are typically available within 24-48 hours. If faster results are needed, samples may be sent to nearby health care facilities that offer expedited testing.
The airport test collection sites will be run by private contractors through a contract with the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services. Capstone Clinic, a Southcentral Alaska health care provider in Southcentral Alaska, will run the testing site in the Anchorage airport. Beacon, a locally-based occupational health company, will operate the collection site in Fairbanks.