The Municipality of Anchorage is adding five new drive-thru sites where people can test for COVID-19 starting Friday.
A referral from a provider won’t be required, and both people experiencing symptoms and those who don’t have symptoms but think they might have been exposed to the illness may get a test there, the Anchorage Emergency Operations Center said in a statement Wednesday.
The testing sites will be in the parking lots at:
• ChangePoint Church, 6689 Changepoint Drive
• Fairview Community Recreation Center, 1121 E. 10th Ave.
• Anchorage Church of Christ, 2700 DeBarr Road
• Muldoon Community Assembly, 7041 DeBarr Road
• Loussac Library, 3600 Denali St.
There is no cost for the test, and people are welcome to walk up, the emergency operations center said. The sites are set to be open three days a week, including Mondays and Saturdays from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. and on Fridays from noon to 8 p.m. The sites will be open through Oct. 20.
The new locations are intended to supplement an existing drive-thru testing site at 4115 Lake Otis Parkway that’s operated by Providence Health & Services Alaska. A high demand for testing has repeatedly snarled traffic around the Lake Otis site.
“Alarmingly, COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations are at the highest levels yet in Anchorage,” Bill Falsey, incident commander at the emergency operations center, said in a statement. “Increased testing capacity leads to quicker identification of cases and more effective disease containment.”
Containing the virus helps protect hospital capacity and makes it “possible for Anchorage to operate at a level closer to normal,” Falsey said.
The sites will be operated by Visit Healthcare, a company that will also carry out testing for congregate living settings and essential workers in the city, according to Anchorage officials.
“With the trend of increasing cases, and especially as we enter cold and flu season in the coming months, we hope that our testing sites will provide the people of Anchorage the ability to make sure they are not infected, and if they are, to take appropriate action,” Dr. Patrick Miles, the company’s chief medical officer, said in a statement.
“Given the sharp rise in COVID-19 cases in Anchorage, residents should continue to keep 6 feet apart from non-household members, wear a mask or cloth face covering in public settings, wash hands often, avoid large gatherings, and keep social bubbles small,” city officials said.
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