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

Sylvan Lake Community Partners reorganizes to better serve clients

The facility was thoroughly cleaned and reorganized during its shutdown due to COVID-19

Alberta’s active COVID-19 cases continue to trend downwards

85 new cases Tuesday, active cases sit at 1,004

Walk a Mile in Her Shoes returns to Sylvan Lake Aug. 21

Sylvan Lake Rotary Club is hosting the third annual event which raises domestic violence awareness

New Urban Hen Bylaw presented to Eckville council

The bylaw received its first reading from council at the regular meeting on Aug. 10

Charges likely in fatal attack at central Alberta medical clinic: RCMP

A vigil was held Monday night to mourn the victim

Deaths feared after train derails amid storms in Scotland

Stonehaven is on the line for passenger trains linking Aberdeen with the cities of Edinburgh and Glasgow

Man, 54, charged in connection with fatal attack of Red Deer doctor

Doctor was killed in his walk-in clinic on Monday

Joe Biden selects California Sen. Kamala Harris as running mate

Harris and Biden plan to deliver remarks Wednesday in Wilmington

Donations pour in for family of doctor killed in Red Deer attack

Man has been charged in connection to death of Red Deer doctor

Vigil held in Maskwacis for 10-year-old boy

Samson Cree Nation comes together for comfort, console each other

Cuts to environmental monitoring budget In Alberta’s oilsands are viewed as reckless

The 2019-2020 budget saw $58 million dollars being dedicated to environmental monitoring

Over half of Americans oppose Trump tariff on Canadian aluminum: survey

The survey was conducted Aug. 7 to 9 among 1,513 Canadians and 1,003 Americans

Police investigating after insults, expletives yelled at federal minister’s staff

A 90-second video circulating on social media appears to have been shot by the person who was yelling

Most Read