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State clarifies Alaska’s new COVID-19 testing plan for nonresident air travel

Screening station for air travelers entering Alaska at Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport on Monday, June 22, 2020. (Bill Roth / ADN)

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Nonresident travelers to Alaska will need a negative or pending COVID-19 test result upon arrival or they must pay for an airport test when they land, according to a new state travel policy that was further defined by state officials on Tuesday.

The new travel guidelines go into effect beginning August 11.

All nonresidents arriving by air must either have a negative COVID-19 test taken within 72 hours prior to departure or proof of a pending test result taken within 72 hours of departure, Alaska Department of Health and Social Services Commissioner Adam Crum said during a community briefing.

Those travelers will be required to upload a negative or pending test result into an “Alaska travel portal,” Crum said. A link to the website will be available soon, he said.

If visitors don’t have documentation of a negative test, they will be asked to upload proof that a test has been completed within 72 hours and then quarantine while awaiting their results.

If a nonresident arrives in Alaska without a pre-test, testing will be available at the airports for a fee, Crum said.

The state’s website for COVID-19 information says that if someone from out of state shows up needing a test, it will cost $250.

“More details of the plan will be posted as information becomes available,” the website says.

The new policy marks a shift from current options for out-of-state travelers: test before they depart for Alaska, test once they arrive in the state and quarantine while they await results or quarantine for 14 days upon arrival.

For Alaska residents returning home, airport testing remains available at no cost. Fourteen-day quarantine also remains an option for Alaska residents.

Testing won’t be required for children age 10 or younger, Crum said.

“This new strategy will allow us to focus resources on travel within the state,” he said.

Crum also said Alaska residents traveling within the state will now have the option of testing at some of the airport sites, “so they can avoid bringing the virus back to their small communities,” he said.

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