Gov. Mike Dunleavy released more details Wednesday on the state’s plan for COVID-19 testing of out-of-state visitors during a press conference with Chief Medical Officer Dr. Anne Zink and Department of Health and Social Services Commissioner Adam Crum.
The state also reported 18 additional resident cases and one additional case of a nonresident who has tested positive for the virus as of Wednesday. Alaska has now had 505 residents and 23 nonresidents test positive for COVID-19 since it began monitoring the outbreak.
Dunleavy noted during the press conference that while the state continues to see an increase in cases, as long as the infection rate stays within the state’s capacity to treat patients, the state will proceed with its plans for reopening the economy.
“As we mentioned before, if we see spikes that are very concerning or clusters, we’ll deal with them,” Dunleavy said. “Our plan is to manage this virus in our world today, as they race to get a vaccination together.”
Health Mandate 10, which lays out the protocols for interstate travel, has officially been revised, and the revisions will go into effect on June 5.
The mandate states that all people arriving in Alaska from outside the state must self-quarantine for 14 days, but the revisions allow for exceptions to that 14-day quarantine.
If a traveler can get a SARS-CoV2 PCR test that shows they are negative for COVID-19 within 72 hours before departure to Alaska, they do not have to quarantine when they get here.
If they were tested within five days of their departure, they will be asked to obtain a second test upon arrival in Alaska and minimize interactions with others until that test also comes back negative.
Any travelers who are pre-tested will receive a voucher from the state for a second test, which must occur within seven to 14 days after arrival in Alaska.
Travelers can also opt to be tested at the airport upon arrival in Alaska, but will have to quarantine at their own expense until they receive a negative result. Those travelers will also receive a voucher for a second test that must occur within seven to 14 days after arrival.
Zink explained that a single test is not as effective as a 14-day quarantine, so the state is asking travelers to get tested twice in a 14-day window for the most accurate results.
Alaska residents who travel out of the state for five days or less are not required to be tested prior to returning to the state. If traveling for more than five days, Alaska residents must self-quarantine for 14 days upon their return to Alaska or obtain a test upon arrival. Residents who get tested upon arrival will also receive the voucher for the second test that must occur within seven to 14 days.
Dunleavy said that the state has worked with major airlines to ensure that travelers are made aware of these advisories as they purchase their tickets to Alaska. Crum said that the state will be rolling out a “robust” public information campaign to make sure the requirements are well-known.
Potential travelers to Alaska can visit covid19.alaska.gov/travelers for more information on the travel advisories.
Read all of Alaska’s health mandates at covid19.alaska.gov/health-mandates.
Reach Brian Mazurek at firstname.lastname@example.org.