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Anchorage

Anchorage gets a drive-thru testing site for coronavirus

Nurse Karin Shacklett pre-screens a person to be tested for COVID-19 at a drive-thru testing site off Lake Otis on Tuesday, March 17, 2020. (Bill Roth / ADN)

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Anchorage medical providers are providing a drive-thru location where people can get tested for the new coronavirus. People must be referred by a doctor before using the service.

The site opened Monday and is located at 4115 Lake Otis Pkwy. It is open every day from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.

The test is done by taking a swab from a person’s nose.

If you are exhibiting symptoms, such as fever, cough or shortness of breath, or think you were exposed to someone who has the virus, call your primary care provider first.

If you don’t have a primary care provider, you can be referred by urgent care or a Providence ExpressCare clinic, Providence spokesman Mikal Canfield said.

Referrals can be made over the phone, in person or during a virtual medial appointment.

Healthcare providers took nasal swabs from people at a drive-thru testing site off Lake Otis on Tuesday, March 17, 2020, that will be tested for COVID-19. (Bill Roth / ADN)
Healthcare providers took nasal swabs from people at a drive-thru testing site off Lake Otis on Tuesday, March 17, 2020, that will be tested for COVID-19. (Bill Roth / ADN)

A photo ID is required for testing.

The maximum capacity for testing will be reevaluated over time, Canfield said. A referral is necessary because there is a limited supply of test kits.

“If we tested everybody, we would exhaust our supplies pretty quick," he said.

The site is a collaborative effort between Providence Alaska Medical Center, Alaska Native Medical Center, Alaska Regional Hospital and Anchorage Neighborhood Health Center.

Those providers are doing the testing for free.

Healthcare providers took nasal swabs from people at a drive-thru testing site off Lake Otis on Tuesday, March 17, 2020, that will be tested for COVID-19. (Bill Roth / ADN)

Canfield said the medical providers do not want cost to be a barrier for anyone seeking a test. Because of that, Providence is placing a temporary hold on all COVID-19-related billing.

“The temporary hold does not have a timeline associated with it. It will be in effect as long as necessary to ensure we’re aligned with insurers, testing and lab partners, and our state and federal governments involved in providing various elements of COVID-19 health care. Our priority right now is on delivering care,” he said in an email.

Without insurance, the referral from Providence Express Care Virtual would cost $49. Canfield said Providence could bill for that amount at a later date.

Those being tested will be contacted with results as soon as they are available.

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