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COVID-19 Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently asked questions have been compiled from questions asked during press briefings, emailed to covidquestions@alaska.gov or asked on 2-1-1.

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Interstate travel & Testing

COVID-19 Response Jobs and Volunteer Opportunities Alaska is recruiting staff and volunteers for Alaska’s COVID-19 response. See below for a list of opportunities offered by the State of Alaska and University of Alaska to match your skills with the right opening. This list will be updated with new information as other opportunities become available, so please check back regularly!

State of Alaska Employment:

Registered Nurses, Licensed Practical Nurses, emergency management specialists, all of these positions and more are essential to the ongoing COVID-19 response and recovery. Positions are posted as needed for both short-term and long-term non-permanent opportunities. Individuals are needed to perform functions such as case investigations, contact tracing, logistics, testing support, data entry, and other critical duties

Visit Workplace Alaska to check on the most recent job postings, including for long term and permanent nurse positions and office assistants in Anchorage and Fairbanks. Each position lists a point of contact for questions regarding that specific job opportunity. The State of Alaska is also hiring Contact Tracers with a variety of relevant backgrounds and skill sets to support the ongoing COVID-19 response. For these Contact Tracing positions, please check out offerings for Long Term Non-Permanent Health Program Associates. If you don’t see a job posting relevant to your skills, you may also respond to the COVID Technician and Health Associate posting to be considered for a variety of other positions to support program and projects related to the COVID-19 response.

University of Alaska Anchorage Employment:

The UAA College of Health is hiring to support the COVID-19 response, and is looking for licensed healthcare professionals, public health professionals, and other interested parties to: serve as a contact tracer; supervise contact tracers; both serve and supervise contact tracers.

See the full announcement and complete a survey to indicate your interest in training and deployment to support these efforts.

Volunteers – Licensed Healthcare Professionals:

Licensed healthcare professionals who would like to volunteer their time and skills in service to disaster response, including pandemics, are encouraged to register online at Alaska Respond. Please click on the Register Now button to begin the registration process. Registering as a volunteer does not require you to respond to all situations. Upon successful completion of the registration process, you will be eligible to be called upon for potential response efforts. You will be able to choose whether the requirements of deployment fit your availability. Alaska Respond staff members will work with you to ensure your preparation for any mission. Licensed healthcare professionals can also contact their local public health center to volunteer locally for a specific event or function.

No molecular-based test for SARS-CoV2 is required for either immediately before travel or upon arrival, if all three (3) of the following conditions are met:

The traveler provides proof of a previously positive result of a molecular based test for SARS-CoV2 within 90 days of departure.

The traveler is currently asymptomatic.

The traveler can show a note of recovery from a medical provider or a public health official indicating the traveler has been released from isolation

In accordance with Federal guidance, clergy members are considered Critical Infrastructure Workers for travel purposes, as are individuals supporting the Minimum Basic Operations for houses of worship. Other faith-based organizations may qualify to travel as CI Workers, depending on the function or service that they are providing, such as the distribution of relief supplies for communities in need or providing medical care.

Violations can be reported to investigations@alaska.gov, or to your local law enforcement authorities

For the purposes of travel to and within Alaska, all commercial fishing vessels, tenders, processors, catcher-processors and set-net sites are considered “seafood harvesting facilities” under the Food and Agriculture Section of the Federal guidance. All crewmembers, harvesters and inspectors aboard those vessels and sites are considered CI Workers.

For the purposes of travel to and within Alaska, all mineral extraction is considered critical, and included under the Critical Manufacturing Section of the Federal guidance. All miners and support personnel are considered CI Workers.

For the purposes of travel to and within Alaska, home construction and remodeling is considered “Workers performing housing and commercial construction related activities” under the Residential/Shelter Facilities, Housing and Real Estate, and Related Services Section of the Federal guidance. All workers engaged in home construction or renovation, to including supporting services, are considered CI Workers.

Active duty servicemembers, DoD Civilians on TAD/TDY orders and members of the Alaska Organized Militia (AKOM) are considered Critical Infrastructure Workers. DoD dependents on PCS orders are traveling in support of a Critical Personal Need.

Active duty servicemembers and DoD Civilians on TAD/TDY orders and Alaska Organized Militia members on Federal active duty orders will follow the travel guidelines in the DoD Force Health Protection Guidance, Supplement 12 (Travel) and the appropriate service-level guidance.

AKOM members on State active duty orders will follow the travel guidelines from DMVA.   

All DoD dependents on PCS travel and all service members and dependents on personal travel will follow the guidelines of Health Order 003 – Interstate and International Travel for Alaska resident travel and the appropriate service-level and installation guidance.

Any molecular test for SARS CoV-2 such as variations of PCR, CEPHIED GENEXPERT, BIOFIRE or ABBOTT IDNOW are acceptable.

Some people with disabilities may not be able to wear masks due to health and safety concerns. Individuals who state they have a disability that prevents them from safely wearing a mask should be allowed to enter a health care facility if doing so does not place others at risk or offered reasonable modifications to access the health care services. Reasonable modifications may include requiring use of a separate area for entrance/exit, exam, or treatment; scheduling these patients as the last appointments of the day; or increasing provider PPE.

Please note modifications may not be an option if:

It would fundamentally alter the service provided.

It would create undue burden such as significant difficulty or expense.

The individual poses a direct threat to the health or safety of staff and/or patients.

Accepted proof of Alaska residency for testing at airport:

Alaska driver’s license or state issued ID card.

Federally recognized Alaska tribal identification card.

Active duty military ID card, active duty dependent ID card, DoD Common Access Card (CAD), or valid military orders.

Employment verification letter or student verification letter on employer/school letterhead stating traveler is moving to Alaska for employment or schooling.

Yes, non-resident students and faculty that do not establish residency after initial move to Alaska will need to return to Alaska with negative test results or proof of a test taken within 72 hours of departure. If a non-resident arrives without either of these they will be charged $250 per test at the airport.

There are FDA-authorized home-collection COVID tests for people who want to take a test at home and mail it to a company to get results, such as:

Pixel system from LabCorp

Everlywell COVID-19 Test Home Collection Kit

Vault Health

Picture Genetics 

The COVID Consultants

Azova

ImmunitiRx

An accepted proof of Alaska residency is an employment verification letter on employer letterhead stating traveler is moving to Alaska for employment.

Please contact an occupational health contractor such as Beacon or Capstone who offer services for testing upon arrival. If a non-resident worker arrives and would like testing at the state of Alaska supported testing site they will be charged $25.

Yes, critical infrastructure plans filed with the State will remain in place.

If employers have set up contracts for critical infrastructure with contractors entirely separate from the State contract, then contractors may still test those critical infrastructure travelers. Employers are encouraged to set up setting for their employees.

Testing will be available for anyone with an active duty military ID card, active duty dependent ID card, DoD Common Access Card (CAC), or valid military orders.

Employers will need to pay for testing of critical infrastructure travelers.

Cargo flight crew will need a letter from their employer as stated above and process through screening at the airport.

Critical infrastructure is required to have a letter from their employer to show airport screeners that:

Identifies the employer and employee by name; Details instructions on how the employee must travel to their job site in accordance with the employer’s Community Workforce Protective Plan (CWPP). Confirms the traveler is following the employer’s Community Workforce Protective Plan on file with the State that includes testing and/or quarantine provisions. Requirements for Community Workforce Protective Plans remain the same.

A non-resident traveler will need to arrive with either a negative test or proof of a test taken within 72 hours of departure regardless of port of entry. Any traveler arriving into Alaska outside of the 10 airports providing screening and testing will need to complete the Travel Declaration Form and Self-Isolation Plan on the Alaska Travel Portal (www.alaska.covidsecureapp.com) and upload test results to be reviewed by the State.

Travelers unable to get testing prior to travel are encouraged to purchase an at home test kit. There are FDA-authorized home-collection COVID tests for people who want to take a test at home and mail it to a company to get results, such as:

Pixel system from LabCorp

Everlywell COVID-19 Test Home Collection Kit

Vault Health

Picture Genetics 

The COVID Consultants

Azova

ImmunitiRx

Screeners at the airport. Land and sea entries will be verified through the Alaska Traveler Portal found here: https://www.alaska.covidsecureapp.com/

Yes. Please submit test results to traveler@alaska.gov

If they are an Alaskan resident they can choose to quarantine. A non-resident will need to obtain an oral swab PCR test prior to travel.

No, screening will occur at the airport port of entry.

Yes, we are working closely with Alaska Airlines and other airlines to ensure messaging and communication is consistent.

No, 14 day quarantine is not an option for non-residents. If the non-resident has tested within 72 hours of departure to Alaska and is awaiting results, they can travel to their final destination and self-quarantine until they receive their test results. They will need to be able to access wifi/cell service to receive their results while quarantining.

Yes, if you are waiting on your test results you may travel to your final destination and adhere to quarantine and/or strict social distancing requirements. They will need to be able to access wifi/cell service to receive their results while quarantining.

If a traveler cannot provide an accepted proof of residency they will need to provide a negative result or proof of a test taken within 72 hours of departure.

  • Accepted proof of Alaska residency for testing at airport:
  • Alaska driver’s license or state issued ID card.
  • Active duty military ID card, active duty dependent ID card, DoD Common Access Card (CAD), or valid military orders.
  • Federally recognized Alaska tribal identification card.
  • Employment verification letter on employer letterhead or school verification letter for in person schooling stating traveler is moving to Alaska for employment or school.

An accepted proof of Alaska residency is an employment verification letter on employer letterhead or school verification letter for in person schooling stating traveler is moving to Alaska for employment or school.

If the move is not employment related, the traveler will need to provide a negative result or proof of a test taken within 72 hours of departure.

Alaska residents traveling to an Alaskan community that suggests or requires testing prior to entry are eligible to receive traveler testing.

There is no State-mandated requirement for intrastate travelers to test prior to travel or quarantine while waiting for these test results.

Intrastate travelers need to check with the community they are traveling to, and must comply with all local requirements to mitigate the introduction of COVID-19 in remote communities.

14 day quarantine will still be available for Alaska residents.

Alaska residents have the options to test 72 hours before departure to Alaska, testing at the airport or 14 day quarantine.

A traveler must test within 72 hours prior to the departure time of the originating airport departure.

Non-residents can take a test at the airport for $250 per test and must quarantine until results are received.

A non-resident that does not arrive with proof of a negative test taken within 72 hours of departure or proof of a molecular-based test for SARS-CoV2 taken, but pending results will be able to receive a test for $250 at the airport upon arrival.

Travelers may arrive without results if they have proof of results taken within 72 hours or departure. They will need to quarantine until test results are returned and uploaded to the Alaska Travel Portal (www.alaska.covidsecureapp.com)

A non-resident that does not arrive with proof of a negative test taken within 72 hours of departure or proof of a molecular-based test for SARS-CoV2 taken, but pending results will be able to receive a test for $250 at the airport upon arrival.

Children 10 and under are not required to test.

Yes, Department of Law has reviewed and approved the travel health order.

Travelers will need to complete the Travel Declaration Form found online at the Alaska Travel Portal at www.alaska.covidsecureapp.com

If test results are pending, you are able to travel directly to your final destination and quarantine in place. This location can be any lodging, residence, RV, campsite or wilderness as long as you have cell service/internet access so that you can receive your results.  You must be able to follow the quarantine requirements at your quarantine location and have a space separated from other people.

Every traveler into Alaska is required to fill out a three question self-isolation plan in the Alaska Travel Portal at https://www.alaska.covidsecureapp.com/. This allows travelers to consider their plan for what they will do if their test results return positive while in Alaska.

Screeners at the one of the 10 airports that receives out of state flights.

Accepted proof of Alaska residency for testing at airport:

  • Alaska driver’s license or state issued ID card.
  • Active duty military ID card, active duty dependent ID card, DoD Common Access Card (CAD), or valid military orders.
  • Federally recognized Alaska tribal identification card.
  • Employment verification letter on employer letterhead or school verification letter for in person schooling stating a traveler is moving to Alaska for employment or school.

Children ages 11-17 that are traveling with a parent/guardian will be considered a resident if their parent/guardian meets the residency requirements. 

The changes keep protective protocols in place but are aimed at making the rules simpler and easier to understand. Key changes include: 

Changes to the Travel Portal now consolidate information for residents and nonresidents. As before, Alaska residents are eligible for a free COVID test when they return to Alaska, if they so choose, and may also opt to self-quarantine for 14 days rather than take a test. Nonresidents are strongly encouraged to take a COVID-19 test within 72 hours prior to departure but can test upon arrival into Alaska for $250.

Travelers into Alaska are now required to social distance for 5 days. A second test is optional but not required. Five days is the median incubation period. Strict social distancing allows travelers to visit outdoor public places, but asks that travelers remain six feet away from anyone not in your immediate household, wear a face covering and not enter restaurants, bars, gyms, community centers, sporting facilities, office buildings, and school or daycare facilities. Do not participate in any group activities, including sporting events and practices, weddings, funerals, or other gatherings.

A second test is optional and can be done 5-14 days after arrival

Residents leaving and returning to Alaska within a 72 hour window do not need to test or quarantine on return.

Critical infrastructure workers should follow their company’s protocols any time they travel.

Local restrictions still apply. Please check with local communities before you travel.

Yes.

Non-resident traveler’s will need to arrive with either a negative test or proof of a test taken within 72 hours of departure regardless of port of entry. Any traveler arriving into Alaska outside of the 10 airports providing screening and testing will need to complete the Travel Declaration Form and Self-Isolation Plan on the Alaska Travel Portal (www.alaska.covidsecureapp.com) and upload test results to be reviewed by the State. Please contact your local harbormaster and confirm that both documents have been uploaded into the Alaska Travel Portal.

A non-resident traveler will need to arrive with either a negative test or proof of a test taken within 72 hours of departure regardless of port of entry. Any traveler arriving into Alaska outside of the 10 airports providing screening and testing will need to complete the Travel Declaration Form and Self-Isolation Plan on the Alaska Travel Portal (www.alaska.covidsecureapp.com) and upload test results to be reviewed by the State. We are also in close communication with our counterparts in Yukon, Canada to ensure consistent messaging for travel through Canada.

Alaskan residents returning to Alaska by car have the options to test 72 hours before departure to Alaska, testing at the airport or 14 day quarantine.

The Alaska Testing Site Locator will provide guidance testing locations https://coronavirus-response-alaskadhss.hub.arcgis.com/app/2d92b77bc8044329a1ee3954b063bd8c

If a traveler does not have insurance to cover a test, then the following reimbursement process is in place.

The State of Alaska will reimburse facilities at the CMS rate:

Up to $25 for sample collection

Up to $100 to test the sample if the sample was sent to a commercial lab or tested on site

Providers must verify travelers do not have other insurance.

For voucher reimbursement to the facility/organization email the voucher(s) to traveler@alaska.gov to start the process. Procedure and diagnosis codes are not required when providing service to travelers without health insurance.

Travelers should submit test results through the online portal at:

https://www.alaska.covidsecureapp.com/

If you have technical difficulties or questions about results, email traveler@alaska.gov

There are currently two different types of diagnostic tests for SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19: molecular tests that detect the virus’s genetic material and antigen tests that detect specific proteins on the surface of the virus. Alaska only accepts the molecular-based test type. Antigen tests are not accepted because they are more likely to miss an active coronavirus infection compared to molecular tests. Antibody (serology) tests are not accepted because they do not provide evidence of current infection.

A molecular-based SARS-CoV-2 test is any of a number of tests that detect the presence of viral RNA (genes), such as reverse transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction (rt-PCR, e.g. Cepheid GeneXpert, KIngFisher System, ABI 7500 system), Transcription Mediated Amplification (TMA, e.g. the Hologic Panther system), and Isothermal Nucleic Acid Amplification (e.g. Abbott ID-NOW). Alaska accepts results from FDA-approved home self-test swab kits.

We ask that all travelers into Alaska obtain testing before they travel, or plan to complete a 14-day quarantine.

Currently, the only airports with testing for general travelers are in

  • Anchorage
  • Fairbanks
  • Juneau
  • Ketchikan
  • Sitka
  • Wrangell
  • Petersburg
  • Cordova
  • Yakutat
  • Gustavus

The United States and Canada have announced a mutual agreement to restrict travel across the border to essential travel only. It is always best to call the border crossing before you leave to determine if your travel will be allowed.

The border crossings at Beaver Creek, Haines and Skagway are controlled by the United States Customs and Border as well as the Canadian Border Services Agency (CBSA) which is enforcing the Quarantine Act.  All non-essential (discretionary) travel into Canada remains restricted. Updated details may be found here:

https://www.cbsa-asfc.gc.ca/services/covid/menu-eng.html

More information can be found from the US Embassy in Canada here:

https://ca.usembassy.gov/travel-restrictions-fact-sheet/

Please find the links that apply to border controls and COVID-19 travel restrictions in the Yukon:

https://yukon.ca/en/health-and-wellness/covid-19/border-enforcement-during-covid-19

Other specific instructions from Yukon, Canada.

Please find the links for Yukon general COVID-19 information:

https://yukon.ca/covid-19

Please find the Yukon contact lists for COVID-19 information:

https://yukon.ca/en/health-and-wellness/covid-19/contact-list-covid-19

Please visit the Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities website for more information navigating road travel along the Canadian Border: http://dot.alaska.gov/covid19info/canadian-border.shtml

Alaska requires written proof of negative results. We will accept most forms of proof, including paper documentation, screen shots, results in patient portal via smartphones, emails, and official note from the provider.

If you receive a phone call with your negative result, you should request written documentation.

Please be aware that you have a right under HIPAA to be provided your own test results.

https://www.hhs.gov/hipaa/for-individuals/medical-records/index.html

If you leave Alaska for less than 72 hours (for instance, layover in another state), you can return with no need for test or quarantine but should self- monitor for the next 14 days for any symptoms, even mild ones.

For anything 72 hours or more, either quarantine or test upon arrival (practice strict social distancing pending results).

A violation of a state COVID-19 Health Order may subject a fishing vessel to an order to cease operations and/or a civil fine of up to $1,000 per violation. In addition to the potential civil fines noted above, a person or organization that fails to follow the state COVID-19 Health Order designed to protect the public health from this dangerous virus and its impact may, under certain circumstances, also be criminally prosecuted for Reckless Endangerment. These fines may be imposed by Federal, State or local authorities.

Depending on the location and testing capacity, it could be anywhere from a few hours to a week.

Airport locations usually give results in 3-5 days but depending on volume the turnaround may be longer.

Yes, most airport locations providing testing will perform the second test 5-14 days later but confirm with the testing site at the airport their hours and availability.

If the coparent does not need to leave the airport, s/he does not need to stay to quarantine. If the coparent does leave the airport, s/he must quarantine for the duration of the stay, even if it is overnight.

The parents must file a Declaration Form through the Alaska Travel Portal for the child(ren), who must quarantine for 14 days after arriving.

Yes. The parent remains under quarantine, but the child(ren) may stay with the parent at the quarantine location.

The children and other parent are not required to quarantine after the visitation but are strongly advised to limit public interaction for 14 days after the visit and keep a log of activity to assist with any potential contact tracing efforts.

The Health Order requires you to submit a declaration of your quarantine destination, where you must remain for 14 days. Quarantine “on the move” is not allowed. You may not leave quarantine except for medical care.

If you are able to provide the address of your RV, and you can stay in one location for 14 days without interacting with anyone or leaving your quarantine residence for any reason other than medical, you can complete quarantine in your RV.

No. Each traveler will be responsible for their own expenses while in quarantine, which lasts 14 days after the most recent exposure took place. This includes the cost of food and lodging.

No. Each traveler will be responsible for their own expenses while isolating. This includes the cost of food and lodging. We strongly encourage travelers to obtain a test prior to travel to reduce the possibility of this occurring.

The voucher provides a medical order for travelers to get a second SARS CoV2 molecular-based test 5-14 days after the initial point of entry into Alaska. It alleviates the need for an asymptomatic person to be seen by a medical provider to receive an order for the test.

No.

However, Local communities may enact travel restrictions (but cannot require automatic quarantine or measures that prevent travel for: Critical Personal Needs or the conduct of Essential Services/Critical Infrastructure).

Check before you go! Many communities have set up their own travel rules.

No. After you are finished with arrival procedures at the airport, you may continue directly to your quarantine location. This location can be any lodging or residence as long as you can follow the quarantine requirements and have a space separated from other people.

The health order states that strict social distancing should occur after a traveler has arrived with one negative test result taken within 72 hours of departure until 14 days after arrival in Alaska, or until a negative result is returned from a second COVID-19 test taken 5-14 days after arrival.

Here’s what these travelers need to do to practice strict social distancing:

You may be in an outdoor public place, but stay six feet away from anyone not in your immediate household and wear a face covering.

You may arrange curbside shopping or have food delivery.

Please do not enter restaurants, bars, gyms, community centers, sporting facilities (i.e., ice rinks, gymnasiums, sports domes), office buildings, school or daycare facilities.

Do not participate in any group activities, including sporting events and practices, weddings, funerals, or other gatherings.

At a minimum, travelers would be practicing strict social distancing at least the first 5 days after arrival and until a second negative result is returned. This is different than a quarantine when you are a close contact to a known COVID patient. In that situation, a full 14-day quarantine is needed and there is no test-based strategy to shorten this period.

Transient accommodations, including temporary lodging at the stopover location at a hotel, is permissible. The same applies for those travelers with overnights due to weather or other extenuating circumstances on their journey home.

When travel consists of multi-segment (e.g. flight connections and layovers) or multimodal (e.g. combination of flight and driving) transportation, travelers do not need to quarantine for 14 days at every stop.

If the traveler leaves the airport or stops for a period of time longer than necessary to replenish supplies or fuel, the traveler must comply with quarantine protocols for the duration of the stop or absence from the airport. Travelers should state the final destination in the Alaska Travel Portal, not intermediary destinations.

If you are located in an Alaskan community but you have to drive through Canada to get to another Alaskan community on the road system, you do not have to quarantine IF:

You take the most direct route; and

Your interactions are limited to border and customs officials.

Note: Yukon, Canada is asking that travelers who are in transit through the Yukon, either en-route to Alaska or moving south from Alaska, to:

complete their transit within 24 hours;

stay on the designated route through the Yukon Territory;

access only those services/establishments on those routes;

self-isolate within their hotel rooms if stopping overnight during their transit;

not enter Yukon communities;

not enter Yukon campgrounds;

maintain physical distancing;

call 811 if symptoms of COVID-19 are experienced.

Furthermore, if you stop in Canada for any extended period of time, you will be subject to Health Order requirements for quarantine upon arrival in Alaska.

Please visit the Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities website for more information navigating road travel along the Canadian Border: http://dot.alaska.gov/covid19info/canadian-border.shtml

Travelers may be transported to their final destination by friends or family members, following social distancing protocols. The person providing transportation is not subject to a 14-day quarantine.

You will be required to isolate at your own expense for 14 days, or until you are cleared by a public health nurse. You will not be able to fly unless cleared by public health.

Yes, as long as you can provide proof of a negative test result, you will be released from quarantine requirements when you provide that to the state.

However, please prepare for the possibility that your test might come back positive for the virus. If that happens, you will have to isolate at your own expense, and will not be able to leave Alaska until you cleared by a public health nurse.

No. You must provide proof of a  molecular-based SARS-CoV-2 test molecular result with your Declaration Form.

No other type of test is acceptable.

The state is making every effort to match the flight with testing capacity, regardless of when the flight comes in. Although the state continues to expand testing capacity, testing for travelers coming from outside of Alaska is subject to availability.

All arriving crewmembers must wear cloth face coverings during travel and proceed directly to their self-quarantine location, where they will be kept separate from the local population until they finish their 14-day self-quarantine period.

No. Every traveler coming into Alaska from another state or country, regardless of how they travel, must complete the Travel Declaration Form, and submit into the Alaska Travel Portal.

No.

If you travel to Alaska without a prior test you are traveling at your own risk. Although the state continues to expand testing capacity, testing for travelers coming from outside of Alaska is subject to availability and costs $250 for non-residents.

No. We are using a PCR swab test. Depending on the location and available resources, some test results may be rapid while others may take up to 72 hours.

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