At-home COVID tests available at administration building
December 16, 2021
The Haines Borough is now providing at-home COVID-19 tests for residents who have returned from travel.
“The focus on returning travel is to acknowledge that with very little community spread, the greater concern for transmission is people traveling to Haines,” read a Dec. 15 statement from the Emergency Operations Center (EOC).
The borough is limiting test kits to one per family member. Each kit comes with two rapid tests. The borough received 1000 kits, which are made by Binax Now. The tests show results in 15 minutes but are not accepted for travel to Canada.
Kits can be picked up between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday through Friday at the borough administration building. Borough officials suggested testing first at the Juneau International Airport and taking an at-home test five days after returning from travel.
According to an EOC update earlier in the week, “several individuals” tested positive for COVID and residents should assume there is community transmission. The state coronavirus dashboard has reported just one case in the last 10 days.
“The numbers are not as important as the fact that there are positive COVID cases in Haines, so people need to ensure that they are following proper hand hygiene, obtaining a COVID test if you are symptomatic, getting a COVID vaccine and booster, getting a flu vaccination, get tested if you have any symptoms, and if you are sick, stay home,” Haines clinic administrator Stephanie Pattison wrote in an email to the CVN. Pattison did not say how many positive cases SEARHC detected in the last week.
The first case of the new Omicron variant in Alaska was reported this week in an Anchorage resident who had traveled internationally. The variant, which was first detected in South Africa last month, has mutations that officials worry will make it more transmissible.
Early data suggest Omicron is even more contagious than the Delta variant but could cause milder cases. Officials say there are still a lot of unknowns about it and studies are ongoing.
“Current vaccines are expected to protect against severe illness, hospitalizations, and deaths due to infection with the Omicron variant,” according to the CDC. “However, breakthrough infections in people who are fully vaccinated are likely to occur.”
The EOC asked residents who test positive with a home test to quarantine “and arrange to retest with a PCR test at SEARHC and follow their medical advice.”
At-home tests can be requested at 766-6409.