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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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General Questions

Alaska recommends wearing cloth face coverings in public settings, especially since recent studies show that the virus is often spread from people who aren’t experiencing symptoms.

A mask will not necessarily prevent you from catching the virus. However, it will limit YOU from spreading the virus if you are infected, and reduce the projection of a sneeze or cough.

Cloth face coverings should not be placed on young children under age 2, anyone who has trouble breathing, or is unconscious, incapacitated, or otherwise unable to remove the mask without assistance.

For more information please see these resources: dhss.alaska.gov/dph/Epi/id/SiteAssets/Pages/HumanCoV/SOA_04032020_HealthAlert010_ClothFaceCoverings.pdf

dhss.alaska.gov/dph/Epi/id/Pages/COVID-19/coveryourface.aspx

CDC guidance: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prevent-getting-sick/cloth-face-cover.html

There are many ways to become involved in Alaska’s COVID-19 response as a volunteer or staff member. See below for a list of opportunities 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!

CDC Foundation Employment

The CDC Foundation is hiring for positions that will be placed at the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services to support the COVID-19 response. Follow the links below for more information and applications for these positions:

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 contact tracing, logistics, testing support, and other critical duties.

Visit Workplace Alaska to check on the most recent job postings, including for short term nurse positions and long term and permanent nurse positions. Each position lists a point of contact for questions regarding that specific job opportunity.

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:

  1. Serve as a contact tracer
  2. Supervise contact tracers
  3. Both serve and supervise
  4. Review and assess Fishery Processing Plan COVID-19 Response Plans

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, and 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.

All senior centers and institutions will continue to have restricted access.

Health Alerts still remain in effect, including Health Alert 7, which suspended services in congregate settings. 

As Health Alert 7 states: the Department of Health and Social Services (DHSS) has suspended statewide, all long-term services and supports that occur in congregate settings, including senior centers, adult day services, and any site-based day habilitation or supported employment activities where individuals gather together. DHSS is working with federal partners to determine if services may be offered in a more flexible manner within home settings.

http://dhss.alaska.gov/News/Documents/press/2020/SOA_03172020_HealthAlert007_CongregateSettings.pdf

Phase III/IV Guidance: https://covid19.alaska.gov/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/05212020-Phase-III-IV-Guidance.pdf

Here are several places where you can find resources for businesses:

The requirement to submit a protective plan only applies to private sector businesses. There is no requirement for federal, state, local or Tribal government organizations to submit a plan for review. The expectation is that government agencies are enacting all appropriate measures to safeguard their workforce, and prevent the potential spread of the virus between communities in Alaska. Please ensure all of your employees and vessels are following the guidance of the Governor’s health mandates and alerts as well as your internal protective measures: https://covid19.alaska.gov/health-mandates

The Office of Children’s Services has implemented many new protocols/strategies to address the safety of foster children, foster parents, birth parents and our staff during this time of the pandemic.  Much of this information is posted on a new COVID Response webpage accessible from the OCS main webpage, and available here:  http://dhss.alaska.gov/ocs/Pages/COVID/default.aspx

If you are sick, think you’ve been exposed to COVID-19, or want to know if you should be tested, call your health care provider. Please call ahead before you go into a clinic, doctor’s office or emergency room. If you don’t have a health care provider, contact your local Public Health Center: dhss.alaska.gov/dph/Nursing/Pages/locations.aspx

Alaska 2-1-1 is a great resource to answer your general questions about COVID-19 and to assist with other needs such as school closures, loss of jobs, and more. But please know that it is NOT a screening tool.

For Alaskans who live in areas where 2-1-1 can’t be accessed, you can call 800-478-2221. You may also find answers to your questions on the DHSS website, coronavirus.alaska.gov, or on your official local websites.

We know these are difficult and uncertain times. Please be patient and kind with everyone, including yourself.  

For health care providers and frontline responders: Call 1-844-985-8275

AK Responders Relief Line is a free, anonymous call line available seven days a week, 24 hours a day for first responders including EMTs, doctors, nurses, health aids, social workers, CNAs and others working on the front lines of this crisis.

Other hospital and facility staff, such as respiratory therapists, those working in dietary services, facilities/maintenance and admitting are also welcome to contact this new support service. The service is here to support anyone who is at risk of exposure to COVID-19 as a result of their job in a medical setting. 

The following services are available through the AK Responders Relief Line:

  • Immediate behavioral health support from a person trained in brief intervention, as well as suicide screening and prevention services
  • Referrals to Alaska behavioral health services and supports, and
  • Referrals to practical supports, such as housing assistance, food, etc.

For members of the public:

Many people are experiencing feelings of distress and anxiety due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The evolving and long-term nature of this situation puts everyone under a great deal of stress for an extended period of time. Please know you are not alone, and there are things you can do and resources to help you through this time.

If you feel overwhelmed with emotions like sadness, depression or anxiety; feel like you want to harm yourself; or just need someone to talk to, please reach out. If you’re worried about someone and not sure if they need help, it’s ok to just ask!

  • In an emergency, call 9-1-1
  • Careline Alaska, Alaska’s suicide prevention and “someone to talk to” line is available 24/7 at 877-266-4357 (HELP) and is free and confidential; or text 4help to 839863 between 3-11 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday.
  • Disaster Distress Helpline is available at 800-985-5990 or text TalkWithUs to 66746. TTY 800-846-8517

Remember, while staying up-to-date with the news is important, constantly reading about COVID-19 may make you feel nervous, anxious and stressed out. Instead of staying glued to your news feeds, consider scheduling times during your day to check the news and social media and then take a break from watching, reading, or listening to news stories and do activities to support your well-being. Go for a walk or get some exercise, make time to unwind and do activities that you enjoy, and connect with friends (while practicing physical distancing).

The Red Cross addresses plasma donation criteria for donors who are not confirmed as previous COVID-19 positive cases at: https://www.redcrossblood.org/faq.html#donating-blood-covid-19-convalescent-plasma.  The link for the Blood Bank of Alaska is here: https://www.bloodbankofalaska.org/covid-19/

According to the FDA:

One investigational treatment being explored for COVID-19 is the use of convalescent plasma collected from individuals who have recovered from COVID-19.  Convalescent plasma that contains antibodies to severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 or SARS-CoV-2 (the virus that causes COVID-19) is being studied for administration to patients with COVID-19. Use of convalescent plasma has been studied in outbreaks of other respiratory infections, including the 2003 SARS-CoV-1 epidemic, the 2009-2010 H1N1 influenza virus pandemic, and the 2012 MERS-CoV epidemic.

Although promising, convalescent plasma has not yet been shown to be safe and effective as a treatment for COVID-19. Therefore, it is important to study the safety and efficacy of COVID-19 convalescent plasma in clinical trials.

For access to treatment with plasma, the FDA is allowing “single patient emergency use” for Severe or immediately life-threatening COVID-19 infections.  There are hospitals in Alaska that have protocols in place for patients to receive plasma when ordered by their medical provider as part the individual care plan.

Serology tests for SARS-CoV-2 antibodies have not been clinically verified to diagnose or exclude SARS-CoV-2 infection.  The antibody response in infected patients remains largely unknown, and the clinical value of antibody testing has not been fully demonstrated.  False-positive results can occur due to past or recent infection with non-SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus strains that cause the common cold.

Further research is needed to understand how this test can be utilized for surveillance purposes to understand disease prevalence in the community.

Testing is becoming more widely available across the state. Please use the testing site locator  to find a testing site near you.  Because people are most infectious to others in the beginning of their illness, we recommend that people get tested as soon as they have any symptoms of COVID-19, no matter how mild.  Note: if you have symptoms, please do not walk in to visit a doctor’s office, clinic or hospital emergency room without calling ahead.  This is to protect the health of health care staff and other patients. More information about COVID-19 testing is available at: dhss.alaska.gov/dph/Epi/id/Pages/COVID-19/testing.aspx 

Health mandates are issued by Governor Dunleavy, Alaska’s Chief Medical Officer Dr. Anne Zink and DHSS Commissioner Adam Crum. They outline actions Alaskans are required to take. Health mandates are posted to the governor’s website at https://covid19.alaska.gov/health-mandates/

Health alerts are issued by Dr. Zink and Commissioner Crum. They provide strong recommendations for actions Alaskans should take. Health alerts are available on the COVID-19 website at covid19.alaska.gov/health-alerts/

Mandates and recommendations are being issued regularly at the state, municipal and local community levels in order to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in Alaska. Check with your local authorities for the most current guidance. State of Alaska mandates are available on the covid19.alaska.gov/health-mandates website.

The most important things Alaskans can do now are to: 1) protect themselves from becoming infected or infecting others; 2) avoid close contact with others; 3) stay home if sick; 4) cover coughs and sneezes; 5) wear a cloth face covering when out in public and wear a mask if sick or caring for someone who is sick (if they’re unable to wear a mask); and 6) clean and disinfect surfaces daily.

See CDC’s Protect Yourself page at www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prepare/prevention.html

If you’re sick with COVID-19 or suspect you are infected, you should take immediate steps to help prevent the disease from spreading to people in your home and community.

Cover your coughs & sneezes and self-quarantine. Do not go into work or out in the public if you are ill with respiratory symptoms. Separate yourself from other people in your home as much as possible.

If you develop a fever, cough or difficulty breathing, call your health care provider for medical advice. Always call ahead before going to a clinic or hospital so they can prepare to greet you in the safest way possible. 

More details about what to do if you’re sick, or caring for someone at your home who is sick, are here: dhss.alaska.gov/dph/Epi/id/Pages/COVID-19/Sick.aspx

www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/if-you-are-sick/

Older adults and people of any age who have serious underlying medical conditions may be at higher risk for more serious complications from COVID-19. The people who may be at higher risk of getting very sick from this illness include:

  • Older adults
  • People who have serious underlying medical conditions like:
    • Heart disease
    • Diabetes
    • Lung disease

Information about COVID-19 in children is somewhat limited, but the information that is available suggests that healthy children generally have mild symptoms. However, a small percentage of children have been reported to have more severe illness. Children and adults with serious chronic medical conditions are believed to be at higher risk, as well as older adults. To protect those at higher risk, it’s important that everyone practices healthy hygiene behaviors: www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prepare/prevention.html

See the People Who Are at Higher Risk for Severe Illness section at www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/need-extra-precautions/people-at-higher-risk.html

If you think you’ve been exposed to COVID-19 and develop a fever and symptoms such as cough or difficulty breathing, call your health care provider for medical advice.

Illnesses from COVID-19 have ranged from mild symptoms to severe illness and death.

The following symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure:

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath
  • Chills
  • Diminished sense of taste or smell
  • Diarrhea
  • Fatigue
  • Headache
  • Muscle/joint aches
  • Nausea
  • Rash
  • Runny nose
  • Sore throat

If you develop emergency warning signs for COVID-19 get medical attention immediately. Emergency warning signs include (list is not all inclusive):

  • Trouble breathing
  • Persistent pain or pressure in the chest
  • New confusion
  • Inability to wake or stay awake
  • Bluish lips or face

See the CDC symptoms page for more information and to access an online symptom checker: www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/symptoms-testing/symptoms.html

Providence Alaska Medical Center also has an online assessment tool at: www.providence.org/patients-and-visitors/coronavirus-advisory

Many people are experiencing feelings of distress and anxiety due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The evolving and long-term nature of this situation puts everyone under a great deal of stress for an extended period of time. Please know you are not alone, and there are things you can do and resources to help you through this time.

If you feel overwhelmed with emotions like sadness, depression or anxiety; feel like you want to harm yourself; or just need someone to talk to, please reach out. If you’re worried about someone and not sure if they need help, it’s ok to just ask!

  • In an emergency, call 9-1-1
  • Careline Alaska, Alaska’s suicide prevention and “someone to talk to” line is available 24/7 at 877-266-4357 (HELP) and is free and confidential; or text 4help to 839863 between 3-11 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday.
  • Disaster Distress Helpline is available at 800-985-5990 or text TalkWithUs to 66746. TTY 800-846-8517

Remember, while staying up-to-date with the news is important, constantly reading about COVID-19 may make you feel nervous, anxious and stressed out. Instead of staying glued to your news feeds, consider scheduling times during your day to check the news and social media and then take a break from watching, reading, or listening to news stories and do activities to support yourself. Go for a walk or get some exercise, make time to unwind and do activities that you enjoy, and connect with friends (while practicing physical distancing).

Although people experiencing homelessness are exempted from the requirement to remain in their residence, there are ongoing efforts to provide temporary housing. 

See the list of Community Resources for Food and Shelter at the end of this document.

If you are experiencing an imminent threat to your physical safety, please call 911.

See the list of Domestic Violence Shelters and Crisis Lines at the end of this document.

Most state employees and their families have access to an Employee Assistance Program (EAP). EAPs typically offer confidential assessments, counseling, referrals and other services and information to employees and their families free of charge. Your EAP can support you as you tackle health and well-being issues, including COVID-19 related anxiety; they are geared to provide assistance with difficulties you might encounter at work, family or personal relationship problems, stress, depression, grief, addiction and recovery, and more.

AlaskaCare Members (ACOA, APEA, AVTECTA, CEA, IBU, MEBA, TEAME, and Exempt Employees)

ASEA Health Trust Members (GGU and PSEA Employees)

For MMP Members

  • Call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, to talk to a professional counselor: 1-877-234-5151
  • More information at: www.lifeworks.com
    • Company name: MMP
    • Password: 5100

Check with your child’s school and school district as they are bringing distance learning options online for students.

DHSS’ Play Every Day Campaign is also providing tips and ideas on how to keep kids active and healthy while social distancing.

Visit the Play Every Day webpage at dhss.alaska.gov/dph/PlayEveryDay/Pages/ and follow them on Facebook at www.facebook.com/playeverydayAK/

Share facts, not rumors!

Seek out reputable sources online and on social media and share their information with your friends, family and networks. Here are just a few good places to start:

Please visit the Alaska Department of Labor and Workforce Development for the most up-to-date information related to the COVID-19 pandemic:

On April 9, 2020, Governor Dunleavy signed into law SB 241, which extends two important protections for Alaskans during this public health emergency:

  1. The deadline to file for your PFD has been extended to April 30, 2020.
  2. If you’ve been out of state for an extended time due to COVID-related reasons, you may still be eligible for the PFD if you notify the commissioner of the Alaska Department of Revenue or the commissioner’s designee that you expect to be absent from the state for a continuous period on or after March 11, 2020.

Read SB 241 at www.akleg.gov/PDF/31/Bills/SB0241Z.PDF. Visit the Permanent Fund Division for more information at pfd.alaska.gov.

Your page does not tell us the specifics of positive cases.  Are you going to give detailed information, such as where infected people work or live?  Why isn’t information given by zip code?

We want to keep Alaskans as informed as possible on COVID-related issues.  Part of this process involves hard work by the epidemiology team to investigate and trace all contacts by a person who tests positive so that anyone at risk can be notified.

We cannot disclose protected health information of individual people.  Part of respecting all Alaskans is respecting the lives of Alaskans who have tested positive for this virus, and not putting them at unnecessary risk by disclosing personal information.

Because we are a HIPAA compliant organization, we cannot report information for towns or villages with <1,000 residents.  Geographic information at a granular level in combination with other information that we report may inadvertently identify a patient.  This is to protect the privacy and confidentiality of patients.

For information about inadvertently identifying persons – please visit HIPPA for more information about the legal and ethical reasons we protect people’s rights to privacy.

Please be assured that when there is information that is vital to preventing spread, we will share what is needed.

A new virus, called a novel coronavirus, was first identified in Wuhan, Hubei Province, China in December 2019. The outbreak of the respiratory illness resulting from infection with the virus, called COVID-19, has since spread internationally and in the United States. Case counts are growing rapidly each day.

The first case in the United States was announced on Jan. 21, 2020. The World Health Organization declared a global public health emergency on Jan. 30 and the United States declared a national public health emergency on Jan. 31. COVID-19 was declared a global pandemic by the WHO on March 11 and Governor Mike Dunleavy signed a statewide emergency declaration in Alaska that same day. Because this is a new strain of coronavirus, there is still much to learn and information changes rapidly.

See the CDC Situation Summary at www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/cases-updates/summary.html

No. While other coronaviruses cause a variety of respiratory illnesses, including the common cold, this is a new coronavirus, never before identified in humans.

It is believed that the primary methods of transmission are person-to-person spread and from contact with contaminated surfaces and objects.

COVID-19 is very easily spread, even by people who do not have symptoms, which is why maintaining at least six feet of distance between people is so important.

The science is definitive that maintaining six feet or more from other people will greatly diminish your risk of getting the virus. This, and washing your hands, not touching your face, and wiping down surfaces are the best public health guidance about preventing the spread of this virus. Since there are no current vaccination or antiviral treatments, the primary goal is to prevent getting the virus in the first place. Standing six feet away or more from others is the best way to do this.

Older adults and people of any age who have serious underlying medical conditions may be at higher risk for more serious complications from COVID-19. The people who may be at higher risk of getting very sick from this illness include:

  • Older adults
  • People who have serious underlying medical conditions like:
    • Heart disease
    • Diabetes
    • Lung disease

Information about COVID-19 in children is somewhat limited, but the information that is available suggests that healthy children generally have mild symptoms. However, a small percentage of children have been reported to have more severe illness. Children and adults with serious chronic medical conditions are believed to be at higher risk, as well as older adults. To protect those at higher risk, it’s important that everyone practices healthy hygiene behaviors: www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prepare/prevention.html

See the CDC Are You at Higher Risk for Severe Illness page at www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/specific-groups/high-risk-complications.html

Health Mandate 010: International and Interstate Travel June Update

Receiving a voucher does not mean you are required to use it – the voucher is provided to offset the cost of a test if not covered by insurance.

However, you might be required to complete a second test depending on which travel category you fall under.  Unless you have completed a 14 day quarantine, you are required to take a second test within 7-14 days of arrival if:

  1. You took your first test within 72 hours or 5 days before departure; or
  2.  You took your first test after you arrived in Alaska;

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:

  1. The traveler shows evidence of previously positive results of a molecular-based test for SARS-CoV2 that occurred at least three (3) weeks prior to arrival in AK
  2. The traveler is currently asymptomatic
  3. The traveler can show a medical provider’s note of recovery.

All forms will be collected and provided to Alaska Department of Health and Social Services staff in all locations, and will be secured and stored with DHSS. They will not be given to municipalities or to any local, state or federal law enforcement agencies. 

If in the future a misdemeanor criminal investigation is ongoing, law enforcement will request specific documentation (evidence) from the department, which will be processed in the customary way documentation is provided during criminal investigations, ensuring protocols for chain of custody are applied.

A variety of professions and businesses support critical infrastructure, including health care, first responders, financial institutions and more. Find the full list at: https://gov.alaska.gov/wp-content/uploads/sites/2/03232020-COVID-19-Health-Mandate-010-Attachment-A.pdf

Many grocery stores deliver food, and delivery services can bring food from restaurants, all of which can be dropped off outside the door to prevent contact.

No visitors are allowed, other than doctors, health care providers or other critical infrastructure service providers. See Attachment A.

Yes. You may leave your designated quarantine location only for medical emergencies or to seek necessary medical care. Please call your doctor before going to their office or facility.

Violations may be reported to investigations@alaska.gov. DHSS will treat the sender’s identity as confidential information and protect it to the maximum extent state and federal law permit.

Failure to follow this order is punishable by a fine of up to $25,000, or imprisonment of not more than one year, or both pursuant to Alaska Statute 12.55.035 and Alaska Statute 12.55.135.

Yes.  Your own private yard, connected to your quarantine residence, is not a public area.

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.  The traveler does not need to submit a Declaration Form for every such stop during the trip.  Travelers should state the final destination, 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:

  1. You take the most direct route; and
  2. Your interactions are limited to border and customs officials.

If you stop in Canada for any extended period of time, you will be subject to Mandate 10 requirements for quarantine upon arrival in Alaska.

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.

If under quarantine, you may go outside if certain precautions are taken, such as wearing a mask to prevent exposure to others and not entering any indoor space except for access to your living quarters. You may go for a walk in open, non-crowded outdoor areas.

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 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.

If someone else is at your location, you must comply with social distancing guidelines, including remaining at least six feet away from others, and frequently cleaning surfaces.

The other people in the residence are not considered under quarantine, but should exercise caution and avoid unnecessary public interactions. Please use CDC guidelines on how to prepare your home for COVID-19. https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/faq.html#Preparing-Your-Home-and-Family-for-COVID-19

If your business is included in Attachment A, and your workers must travel to enter Alaska, you need to submit a protective plan for maintaining critical infrastructure to akcovidplans@ak-prepared.com , “outlining how you will avoid the spread of COVID-19 and not endanger the lives of the communities in which you operate, of others who serve as a part of that infrastructure or the ability of that critical infrastructure to function.” Instructions for plans can be found at https://covid19.alaska.gov/unified-command/protective-plans/, and plans may be submitted to akcovidplans@ak-prepared.com.

Once you submit a plan that satisfies the requirements on that site, it is presumptively approved and you can proceed as soon as it is submitted without further direction from the state.  You may be contacted if modifications are needed. Remember that each worker must submit a declaration form.

You must receive a negative result from a molecular-based test such as a PCR test. Alaska does not accept serology/antibody tests. 

Alaska does not endorse or suggest any particular testing site or company, but the following information is provided to assist in your research:

  1. Test site locator for the U.S.
  2. Alaska test site locator

There are two FDA-approved home-collection COVID tests:

  1. Pixel system from LabCorp
  2. Everlywell COVID-19 Test Home Collection Kit

Testing at the airport is currently available only to arriving travelers.  Please visit our testing site locator for other testing locations that accept vouchers.

No.  Those traveling under a protective plan are not eligible for exemptions II(a)-(c).

Even essential workers are required to quarantine. If their job cannot be postponed or conducted under normal quarantine rules, the business may submit a plan to the state proposing modified quarantine protocols during working hours only that will protect the public from exposure. All non-work hours must be spent in full quarantine.

Critical Infrastructure workers fall under (II)(d) of Mandate 10 and must follow the protocols in their employer’s Protective Plan.

Children under the age of two (2) do not need to receive a test to avoid quarantine, but the adults and older children must have a negative PCR test to be released from the 14-day quarantine requirement.

Instructions will be provided at your arrival destination.

You must have a physical copy or electronic proof of the Declaration to provide at your port of entry. Paper forms will be provided if you do not have a printed copy with you.

 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.  The traveler does not need to submit a Declaration Form for every such stop during the trip.  Travelers should state the final destination, not intermediary destinations.

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.

Mandate 10 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 – traveling in an RV or other vehicle would require stops to refuel, etc. and involve interactions with the public and touching communal objects.

However, 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.

You can quarantine in any lodging where you can physically separate yourself from other individuals for the length of quarantine.  This includes hotels, lodges, cabins, or residences where you have space separate from the other people in the residence.

Remember that under quarantine, you cannot have contact with anyone other than medical providers in cases of medical necessity.

Every traveler, including essential services/critical infrastructure workers, must submit the mandatory Declaration Form.  There is no need to produce the company’s protective plan.

Yes.  In cases where the timeliness of travel affects life/health/safety of Alaskans, these personnel are permitted to travel to their final destination and begin work immediately without quarantine pending test results.  This is consistent with II(c) of Mandate 10 and the Alaska Essential Services and Critical Workforce Infrastructure Order (formerly Attachment A).

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.

You will be required to isolate at your own expense for 14 days, or until you are cleared by a public health nurse after receiving a subsequent negative test. 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.

If you are an Alaska resident traveling out of state and your trip is five days or less:

  1. You are not required to test before departure or return to Alaska, although it is advised for the protection of others.
  2. Upon returning to Alaska, residents must either:
    1. Self-quarantine for 14 days upon arrival, with no requirement for testing;

OR

  1. Receive a PCR test upon arrival in Alaska.  The resident must obtain a second PCR test between 7-14 days after arrival, and minimize interactions until the result from the second test shows the resident is negative for COVID-19.

If you are an Alaska resident travelling out of state and your trip is six days or more, you should follow the procedures outlined for travelers visiting the state.

Please remember that each state and locality may have different travel restrictions, so please check before leaving Alaska so that you are prepared.

Getting a PCR test within 72 hours prior to departure and showing that negative result is the fastest and safest way to ensure your ability to explore Alaska right away.  If your test results aren’t in before you depart, you can quarantine at arrival until the results arrive.  Once you provide the results to the state, your quarantine is over.

The State of Alaska will accept results from tests taken up to five days prior to departure, but you will be required to take a second test when you arrive and to minimize your interactions until you receive the results (you will not be under quarantine).

If you can’t get a test at all before you depart, you have two options: you may quarantine for 14 days, or you may be able to test upon arrival and quarantine, at your own expense, until your results come back showing you are negative.  After that result, you must minimize interactions until a second test also comes back negative (between 7-14 days after arrival).

No.  You must provide proof of a PCR swab test result with your Declaration Form.  No other type of test is acceptable.

You need to complete the mandatory Declaration Form and choose the quarantine option, listing the information for your quarantine location.  When you arrive at your destination, you should give this form or show the completed electronic version to the screener, who will also provide you with a testing voucher valid for 7-14 days after you arrive (in case you later decide to opt for testing).

Receiving this voucher does not mean that you are required to complete a second test.  However, it is strongly recommended that you use the voucher to be tested between 7-14 days after arrival. 

The voucher will offset the cost of the test if not covered by insurance.

No, you may complete a 14-day quarantine instead.

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

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.

No.  Every traveler coming into Alaska from another state or country, regardless of how they travel, must complete the mandatory Declaration Form and follow all requirements of Mandate 10. 

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.

For this reason, travelers are strongly encouraged to obtain a test prior to travel and/or have a contingency plan that includes completing a 14-day quarantine if the state is unable to provide a test at arrival.

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.

You are not automatically finished with quarantine.  You must quarantine until you receive a negative test result, or the 14-day quarantine is over.  If you receive a negative result, you may continue about your trip with limited interactions pending results of a second test (to be taken within 7-14 days after arrival) and following the guidelines of the community you are visiting.  If you have a positive test, then you will have to self-isolate, which will be at your own expense.

Please review the traveler’s website (available at: https://covid19.alaska.gov/travelers/)

  1. Have your completed Declaration Form printed or electronically available, along with your PCR test results (if applicable).  Paper copies will be available at your arrival location.
  2. When you arrive, follow directions for turning in or showing your form and check in for your optional entry point testing. You will also receive a voucher for future testing.
  3. If you do not already have a PCR test result, proceed directly to your quarantine location and remain there for 14 days or until you receive your negative results from the entry point test.

Advance planning is the best way to ensure a successful trip.  There are a few key steps you can take to protect yourself prior to arrival:

  1. Get a PCR test 72 hours prior to travel and provide proof of the negative test result with your Declaration Form.
  2. Read the educational materials provided with the Traveler Declaration Form https://covid19.alaska.gov/travelers/
  3. Protect your trip from unforeseen expenses by having medical and travel insurance.
  4. Limit interactions in public to avoid exposure and maximize protective precautions (such as mask wearing) prior to your planned travel.
  5. Have a plan in place if you get sick while in Alaska, if you test positive when you get here, or if you sit nearby someone who tests positive and you need to be put into a 14 day quarantine, as you will be unable to fly back if you need to be in isolation or quarantine until you are cleared by health officials. If you are asymptomatic, you will need to wait at least 10 days since your last positive result, or have two negative tests 24 hours apart, according to CDC guidelines.  The duration of quarantine is 14 days since the last close contact to a confirmed case.

Set up what you can beforehand such as getting your fishing license etc.

No, we are still in Phase 3/4 of the Reopening Alaska Responsibly Plan

Health Mandate 014: Non-Congregate Sheltering Order

No. If a first responder or health care worker would like to be quarantined to protect their family, their Local Emergency Operations Center will be able to help them obtain this temporary housing.

This mandate does not add restrictions or requirements on citizens or businesses or affect congregate settings, generally. It does not require new quarantines.

This mandate is designed to enable the State of Alaska to provide housing to people displaced by COVID-related issues with the support of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). 

Because of the contagious nature of COVID, it’s important that non-congregate settings be available.

This term should be understood under the FEMA usage: a homeless person is someone displaced by a disaster. 

If you are displaced from your home setting due to COVID-related issues, you could be included in this definition of people eligible for temporary, non-congregate quarantine housing.

Health Mandate 015: Services by Health Care Providers

All existing statutory, regulatory or licensing requirements applicable to health care providers or health care facilities remain in place.

Mandate 015 does not require any provider or facility to reopen or resume services.

Licensing boards can determine if individual health care provider types can safely perform services or service types given health care constraints, including PPE or testing availability, or the nature of services including length of time of exposure, personal contact and ability to provide environmental mitigation strategies.

Three appendices were issued under mandate 15 to provide specific guidance for massage therapists, chiropractors and dentists. They are available online at http://covid19.alaska.gov/health-mandates/.

Routine/non-invasive services:

Testing timeframes for services, surgeries, and procedures are outlined in Health Mandate 15.

Routine/non-invasive services:

All health care facilities must screen all patients for recent illness, travel, fever or recent exposure to COVID-19 and, to the extent that is possible, begin testing all admitted patients. 

Non-urgent/non-emergent procedures (effective date May 4):

All health care facilities must screen all patients for recent illness, travel, fever or recent exposure to COVID-19 and, to the extent that is possible, begin testing all admitted patients. 

These procedures place both workers and patients at increased risk of exposure, and may result in adverse effects on patients with COVID-19.

This does not change the need for PPE – all routine and non-invasive services should still use adequate PPE – including N95 masks for aerosolizing procedures.  If they cannot obtain these on the market than routine procedures should not be done.

Urgent and Emergent Services:

The health and well-being of the patient must be prioritized.  There should not be unnecessary delays in urgent or emergent procedures that could impact the health of the patient.

Admission: We recommend all patients who come to the emergency department with symptoms get tested, and all admitted patients get tested. We do not recommend delaying admission to the emergency department for a test. Each facility should use PPE and report PUI as before according to their process.

Procedures with increased risk of exposure: should have patients tested prior to the procedure to the extent reasonably possible; where this is not possible, the facility must use rigorous screening procedures and treat patients as though they are positive for COVID-19.

Again, the health and well-being of the patient is the first priority. If your facility cannot meet the testing deadline and it would adversely affect the patient to postpone the procedure, the mandate allows rigorous screening procedures to be used while test results are pending.

A test should still be administered, and if the surgery is elective, you should wait until the result is received prior to performing surgery.

In general, guidelines indicate that testing should only be conducted if screening criteria so indicate and/or the person is symptomatic. Outside of exceptional circumstances, surgeons and providers do not need to be tested before resuming services on May 4.

The DHSS COVID-19 website includes information regarding how to create, use and clean masks for personal or employee use:

http://dhss.alaska.gov/dph/Epi/id/Pages/COVID-19/coveryourface.aspx

There are also numerous local companies producing masks at a grassroots level including several Facebook groups dedicated to sourcing homemade masks to those that need them.  Ex: ‘Facebook Alaska Mask Makers’, ‘Fairbanks Mask Makers’ among others.

DHSS has created a PPE Flowchart to help offices determine the appropriate level of PPE:

http://dhss.alaska.gov/dph/Epi/id/SiteAssets/Pages/COVID-19/healthcare/PPE%20Flowchart.pdf

The CDC has guidelines on how to prepare your practice for COVID to include printed resources and patient messaging. In addition, the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP) has created a Checklist to Prepare Physician offices for COVID-19:

www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/hcp/preparedness-resources.htmlwww.aafp.org/dam/AAFP/documents/patient_care/public_health/COVID-19%20Office%20Prep%20Checklist.pdf

Yes. Universal masking procedures are required. Staff who do not have direct contact with patients may use cloth face coverings, while those involved in direct patient care must use surgical masks.

Facilities and providers are expected to source their own personal protective equipment including masks, through normal supply chains.  If unable to obtain adequate PPE, the facility/provider cannot provide services.

Under certain circumstances, providers of urgent/emergent procedures (such as hospitals) unable to source PPE should reach out to their local emergency operations center (EOC). Your local EOC will provide the resources requested if available, or they will submit your request for further processing to the State Emergency Operations Center (SEOC).

For non-urgent/non-emergent surgery, the patient must be tested.  The patient should work with their provider to determine where to obtain this test.

The Alaska Section of Epidemiology (SOE) has provided guidance for COVID19 testing in Alaska. We encourage communities and providers to find ways to provide testing that may be needed for their patients. Contact your local facilities for specific on-site instructions.

http://dhss.alaska.gov/dph/Epi/id/SiteAssets/Pages/HumanCoV/AKCOVIDTestingGuidance.pdf

Facilities: smaller systems and critical access hospitals should find a close, high throughput lab to send samples if unable to do on their own.

Each surgical office is using an in-house task force or review committee to determine the acuity and/or urgency of a patient’s need for surgery. The objective is to weigh hospital capacity, PPE and potential exposure to surgical personnel against whether a delay in surgical intervention beyond eight weeks would result in patient harm. 

You are strongly encouraged to contact an Unemployment Insurance technician to discuss your individual circumstances. If your employer requests that you return to work but you do not believe it is a safe environment, you should provide detailed information to the UI technician to determine if you fall under an existing eligibility category under Pandemic Unemployment Assistance or if your circumstances justify a “just cause” to continue your unemployment benefits.

The employer has the duty to ensure the health of staff as well as patients in order to resume services under Mandate 015.

This includes providing adequate protective equipment such as masks and face coverings, as well as conducting mandatory screening of patients.

Health Mandate 018: Intrastate Travel

No.  Protective plans must be submitted according to the guidelines at https://covid19.alaska.gov/unified-command/protective-plans/

This requirement remains in effect for all businesses with employees commuting between any communities or traveling interstate.

Yes.  Communities connected to either the Alaska Marine Highway System or the Inter-Island Ferry System are considered “on the road system” and travel is permitted for any reason.

It is still possible for smaller communities to enact more protective measures, while understanding that Critical Infrastructure and essential government services workers still need to travel.

The Governor will continue to work with all Alaska communities that wish to protect their population based on their unique needs.  Communities wishing to enact more stringent requirements should reach out to engage in this dialogue.

Individual communities may not prohibit or restrict in any manner the following travel:

  1. Emergency First Responders (includes fire, ambulatory services, and other similar emergency first responders);
  2. Law Enforcement acting within their official duties (this includes federal, state and local law enforcement personnel, as well as corrections personnel);
  3. Office of Children’s Services personnel responding to reports of child abuse and neglect and insuring child safety;
  4. Essential Governmental Services personnel needed to ensure the continuing operations of government agencies including to provide for the health, safety, and welfare of the public.
  5. Residents returning to the resident’s home from outside the Small Community that show no signs or symptoms of COVID-19.

Common sense applies – normal usage of location names and understanding of geographic separation applies when asking about community boundaries.  For instance, Eagle River, Palmer, Wasilla, and Anchorage are all separate communities.

Health Mandates

State and local law enforcement are authorized to enforce individual compliance.  In addition, some state boards and commissions have investigative and enforcement powers and may take enforcement action against a licensee when warranted.  

The primary focus is on education and voluntary compliance with the mandates.  Law enforcement will respond to complaints and educate the public when they see violations that jeopardize the safety of individuals or the community.

However, individuals who recklessly violate the mandates do risk both civil fines and criminal prosecution. See https://covid19.alaska.gov/health-mandates/ for more details on these penalties. 

Category: Health Mandates

Yes. As the situation changes and more information is available, the governor and public health officials can issue new orders and directives as needed.

Category: Health Mandates

COVID-19 infections are continuing to spread across the country and Alaska. In an effort to slow the spread of the virus and prevent our health care system from being overwhelmed, Alaska is taking steps now.

Category: Health Mandates

Mandates are only issued if, after careful consideration, they are deemed necessary to protect the lives of Alaskans. These mandates are designed to prevent the spread of COVID-19, which can cause severe illness and death, even in an individual of any age without underlying conditions.  They are also designed to protect the ability of Alaskans to access medical care for non-COVID reasons. 

Category: Health Mandates

Alaskans are expected to comply with all mandates.  These measures have been put in place to flatten the COVID-19 curve and protect the health of all Alaskans.

Alaskans who disregard the mandates are putting themselves and their communities at risk.

To report non-compliance, send an email to investigations@alaska.gov. DHSS will treat the sender’s identity as confidential information and protect it to the maximum extent state and federal law permit.

Category: Health Mandates

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