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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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About COVID-19

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 

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

Category: About COVID-19

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

Category: About COVID-19

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

Category: About COVID-19

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.

Category: About COVID-19

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.

Category: About 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.

Category: About COVID-19

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/

Category: About COVID-19

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).

Category: About COVID-19

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

Category: About COVID-19

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

Category: About COVID-19

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.

Category: About COVID-19

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.

Category: About COVID-19

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

Category: About COVID-19

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.

Category: About COVID-19

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

Category: About COVID-19

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

Category: About COVID-19

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/

Category: About COVID-19

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

Category: About COVID-19

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

Category: About COVID-19

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/

Category: About COVID-19

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).

Category: About COVID-19

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.

Category: About COVID-19

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.

Category: About COVID-19

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
Category: About COVID-19

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.  

Category: About COVID-19

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/

Category: About COVID-19

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:

Category: About COVID-19

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

Category: About COVID-19

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

Category: About COVID-19

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

Category: About COVID-19

Critical Infrastructure Travel

  • 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 $250

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.

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

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 will now be required to have a letter from their employer to show airport screeners that:

  1. Identifies the employer and employee by name;
    1. Details instructions on how the employee must travel to their job site in accordance with the employer’s Community Workforce Protective Plan.
    1. 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.

For Alaskans

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.  There will no longer be a test 5 days prior to departure option.

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

Alaska accepts results from FDA-approved home self-test swab kits.

Health Mandate 014: Non-Congregate Sheltering Order

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.

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 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

On August 4, 2020, the Department of Health and Social Services released new guidance for skilled nursing facilities at: http://dhss.alaska.gov/dhcs/Pages/hflc/COVID-19-News.aspx#June30

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).

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.

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.

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.

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. 

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/.

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.

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.

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

Health Mandate 017

The intent is for people to self-quarantine at their final destination in Alaska, where lodging and dining is already arranged. If you cannot find suitable lodging that is acceptable for self-quarantine at your destination, you must arrange to complete your self-quarantine at your port of entry in Alaska (i.e. Anchorage or Juneau) before beginning your onward travel to your final destination.

During your self-quarantine period, the only reason you may disembark the vessel is for emergencies or to seek emergent medical treatment. After completing your initial 14-day self-quarantine requirement, crewmembers may disembark to conduct re-supply or maintenance of the vessel, to receive medical care, or for essential personal needs such as mail, groceries, banking, hygiene and laundry.

Prior to purchasing fish from a catcher vessel for the first time this season, you are required to ask them for a copy of their Appendix 02. Once they provide that, you can continue with your transaction, and keep that copy on file for all future transactions with that vessel. You may keep hard-copies or electronic copies, but you must keep them on file until 31 Dec 2020. Once the vessel captain provides their Appendix 02, you are not required to ask the vessel captain any further questions about compliance or enforcement.

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. After that period, all vessel captains and crewmembers are required to follow the guidelines in Section V of Appendix 01, “Protecting the Public.”

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

A violation of a state COVID-19 Mandate 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 Mandates 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.

If sick crewmembers cannot be isolated, all other crewmembers must be paced under monitored quarantine for at least 14 days, following the guidelines of Section VII.e of Appendix 01.

No. You may continue operating under the protective plan enacted by your fleet or association. The need to annotate which plan you are following on Appendix 02.

No. Fishing vessel crews are considered Critical Infrastructure Workers by the Alaska Essential Services and Critical Workforce Infrastructure Order.

Small Communities may choose to enact additional protective measures for fishing vessel crews, including the wearing of cloth face coverings when off the vessel and restricted hours at high-traffic places like retail stores and laundromats.   

Many communities, ports and harbormasters are enacting protective measures in their areas of responsibility. You are required to follow all local ordinances that do not counteract the State Health Mandates or other State laws.

This Mandate replaces all previously submitted individual vessel plans. Large catcher-processor vessels which wish to follow a corporate plan may re-submit their original plans for review as corporate plans. If their plan does not meet the minimum requirements, they will be directed to follow the protective measures in Appendix 01.

Immediately re-screen the crewmember using the procedures in Appendix 01 Section IV, and follow the procedures for Identification and Isolation in Section VII. If you are in port, contact the local medical facility for guidance. If you are at sea, first engage your telemedicine contacts, if you have them. If they are not available or if they direct you to bring the sick crewmember to shore, contact the nearest local public health nursing center in Section VII.c. You are also still required by Federal laws to notify the U.S. Coast Guard in accordance with the Maritime Safety Information Bulletin (MSIB) 06-20.

Observers must complete their travel and quarantine in accordance with their employers submitted Community/Workforce Protective Plan. Once they report to a vessel, they will be screened by the vessel captain before boarding, and follow the safety measures in the vessel’s protective plan (Appendix 01 or fleet plan) while on board.

If you are not quarantining prior to travel, you must head straight from the local airport to your site, without stopping. You must have your supplies delivered by runner, and not have any contact with the local community or members of other setnet sites until you complete your 14-day self-quarantine. If another arriving harvester joins your site and you cannot maintain social distancing, you must all re-start you quarantine period together.

Health Mandate 017 will be re-evaluated as needed. Any changes will be passed through follow-on Health Mandates or Alerts at: https://covid19.alaska.gov/. Unless there are major changes to the conditions around the State, vessel captains and crew should expect to be operating under these requirements for the remainder of the 2020 fishing season.

If you have already been in Alaska for longer than 14 days with no symptoms, you have completed your required self-quarantine period. There is no requirement by the State to repeat your self-quarantine when traveling between Alaskan communities.

We recommend that you send them personalized letters stating that they have a spot on your vessel. An example of such a letter is available here.  They need to ensure that they follow the guidelines for travel listed in Health Mandate 010 and Section II of Appendix 01. They will also have to fill out the Traveler Declaration Form. That form and other essential travel information is available at: https://covid19.alaska.gov/travelers/.

If you can contract with a private firm like Beacon to conduct testing at the airport before flying, that is acceptable. You or another trusted member of the crew should screen them using the questions in Section IV of Appendix 01, preferably before they board the vessel. If there are no covered spaces outside the vessel to conduct the screening, try to keep them separate from the rest of the crew until the screening is complete, in a space that can be disinfected should someone fail the screening.

Testing is not required for those following the self-quarantine guidance in Appendixes 01 and 03, but it is highly recommended that all crewmembers and harvesters receive a molecular-based test such as a PCR test prior to boarding a vessel or joining a setnet site. Do not allow anyone with a positive test result to board.

Having the crew self-quarantine on the vessel is perfectly acceptable, provided they are following the guidelines in Section III of Appendix 01. Follow the guidance from the harbormaster or boatyard director on where you can berth and using harbor/boatyard facilities. Crews that are under self-quarantine must not have contact with local populations during the 14-day period.

The Lima flag is the international naval symbol for quarantine. They can be purchased from most marine supply stores and many larger harbors. You must fly a Lima flag or similar yellow and black flag if you have any crewmembers aboard under self-quarantine.

You can start work while still under self-quarantine, provided that you are following the guidelines in Section III of Appendix 01. Be careful when accepting deliveries and contracting for vendor services to or on board your vessel.

You must maintain a signed copy of Appendix 02, acknowledging and agreeing to comply with the protective plan outlined in Appendix 01 of Mandate 017 for the 2020 fishing season. If you are sailing under a previously-submitted corporate fleet or association protective plan, you must annotate what plan you are following on your vessel. You must be prepared to present this along with your other paperwork when selling catch for the first time to any seafood purchasing agent or on request from Federal, State or local authorities. If they have the ability to receive it, you may send a digital picture or scan of your signed Appendix 02 by email or text.

Additionally, you must retain dated documentation of your arrival screening for all crewmembers, and when they began and finished their required self-quarantine period, if they were not already here in the State for two weeks prior to reporting to your vessel.

Many small vessels may not be able to maintain distances between crewmembers due to the size or design. Those vessels will have to assume risk all crewmembers may be exposed, and try to mitigate that risk through increased cleaning and planning for the possibility that all crew members may need to undergo a 14 day quarantine period if one member tests positive.

Health Mandate 018: Intrastate Travel

No. Mandate 018 has been revised and the state is no longer restricting travel between communities off the road system.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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

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

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

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

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.

Category: Health Mandates

In-State Travel

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.

Interstate travel & Testing

  • 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.
  • Will non-resident students or faculty who travel during holiday breaks be subject to the non-resident 72-hour testing requirements?

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.  For non-residents unable to obtain a pre-travel test, there are four FDA-approved home-collection COVID tests:

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.

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.

Yes, paper vouchers handed out prior to the roll out of the Alaska Traveler Portal will be honored.

Screeners at the airport.  Land and sea entries will be verified through the Alaska Traveler Portal.                                                          

No

Yes.

Yes, non-residents will receive a voucher via the Alaska Traveler Porter if they indicate they will be in Alaska 7 days or longer.  Travelers can return to the airport for a free follow up test within 7-14 days of arrival into Alaska.

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.

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.  There will no longer be a test 5 days prior to departure option.

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

Non-residents are able to 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 as long as 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 updated travel mandate.

Travelers will still need to complete the Travel Declaration Form however, we are moving this to a statewide online 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.  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 major change is that free testing at the airport is only available for Alaska residents.  Non-residents need to arrive with proof of a negative test taken within 72 hour or proof of a test taken within 72 hours with results pending.  If you have proof of a negative result you will still need to follow strict social distancing requirements.  If you are waiting for results you will need to self-quarantine until your result is returned and then follow strict social distancing for 14 days or until a second negative test is taken and received at 7-14 days after arrival.
  • Alaskans testing at the airport will need to self-quarantine until results are returned and then follow strict social distancing for 14 days or until a second test is taken and negative results received at 7-14 days after arrival.
  • The State of Alaska is rolling out the Alaska Travel Portal (www.alaska.covidsecureapp.com) where every traveler into Alaska will complete the Travel Declaration Form and a Self-Isolation Plan.

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

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.

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

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 provides proof of a previously positive result of a molecular based test for SARS-CoV2 within 90 days of departure
  2. The traveler is currently asymptomatic
  3. 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

Ability to receive testing is subject to availability, so it is highly recommended to get tested before travel to avoid having to quarantine while waiting for results.

Nonresidents who arrive without proof of a qualifying test taken within 72 hours of departure must pay $250 per test at arrival.  Alaska residents who are traveling can still receive tests at no cost.

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

Alaska accepts results from FDA-approved home self-test swab kits.

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. 

How is Alaska residency determined?

  • Accepted proof of Alaska residency for testing at airport:
    • Alaska driver’s license or state issued ID card.
    • Active duty military ID card or active duty dependent ID card.
    • 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.
  • Children ages 11-17 that are traveling with a parent/guardian will be considered a resident if their parent/guardian meets the residency requirements. 

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.

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.

At this time, the only airports with testing for general travelers are in

Anchorage

Fairbanks

Juneau

Ketchikan

Sitka

Wrangell

Petersburg

Cordova

Yakutat

Gustavus

Children 10 and under are exempt from testing.  However, untested children must minimize interactions for 14 days after arrival.  If their guardian is under quarantine, the child(ren) should follow the same quarantine protocols.

Previously, travelers under the age of two did not need to test.  Effective July 14, 2020, the minimum age was changed.

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, this mandates applies to all travelers into Alaska, even essential workers and critical infrastructure. 

If you are traveling into Alaska in order to work at your health care job, you must follow the requirements of Mandate 10 Section III: Requirements for Critical infrastructure employee travel.

This means that you need to submit a community protective plan as described in Section II(b)(i).  It does not matter how many employees work in the business – a sole practitioner would also fall under this section.

Please visit https://covid19.alaska.gov/unified-command/protective-plans/ for directions on making a protective plan.

Note: health care workers on personal travel need to follow the other mandate sections that apply to individual travelers.

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. 

The United States Customs and Border Patrol are distributing the mandatory Declaration Form and the testing vouchers at Beaver Creek, Haines and Skagway border crossings.

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

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.

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 Mandate 10 requirements for quarantine upon arrival in Alaska.

 Yes, however there may be a test site closer to you that accepts your voucher. Please visit our testing site locator for other testing locations that accept vouchers.

Review this flow chart to see if you need a second test.

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. 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.

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.   

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.

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.

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.

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.

If you leave Alaska for less than 24 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 24 hours or more, either quarantine or test upon arrival (quarantine pending results).

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

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.

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.

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.

Quarantine and Minimizing Interactions

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.

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 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

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

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.

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

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.

When a person has a negative test result, it provides value as a measure from a single point in time.   That’s why travelers with a single test result do not have to go into quarantine.

However, that single test doesn’t account for possible exposure just before or after the test (for example, if you test before you travel, you could be exposed to another traveler who is carrying the virus).

Individuals are expected to get pre-tested, and with that negative test result they are asked to minimize their public interactions until they’ve received a second negative test result or 14 days have passed.

Minimizing interactions does not mean quarantine, but you do need to take more precautions than the usual COVID safety advice.

When you buy food, eat in outdoor settings.  Order delivery if possible. Wear a face covering if you go into public areas.  Take part in outdoor recreation (such as fishing) instead of visiting a museum.  Postpone attending gatherings until after this window is over. 

If you have to be in an indoor space, such as taking a short flight or riding in a shuttle to get to your lodge or outdoor activity, then everyone involved should wash their hands thoroughly and wear a face mask.

Please enjoy our beautiful state safely.

hen you are under quarantine, you must:

  1. Proceed directly to your designated quarantine location. Remain in your designated quarantine location for a period of 14 days, or the duration of your stay in Alaska, whichever is shorter.
    1. You may leave your designated quarantine location only for medical emergencies or to seek necessary medical care.
    1. Do not visit any public spaces, including, but not limited to: pools, meeting rooms, fitness centers, or restaurants.
    1. Do not allow visitors in or out of your designated quarantine location other than a physician, healthcare provider, or individual authorized to enter the designated quarantine location by Unified Command.
  2. Comply with all rules or protocols related to your quarantine as set forth by your hotel or rented lodging.

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.

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.

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.   

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.

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 you leave Alaska for less than 24 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 24 hours or more, either quarantine or test upon arrival (quarantine pending results).

Test Voucher & Standing Order

Yes, paper vouchers handed out prior to the roll out of the Alaska Traveler Portal will be honored.

Yes.

Yes, non-residents will receive a voucher via the Alaska Traveler Porter if they indicate they will be in Alaska 7 days or longer.  Travelers can return to the airport for a free follow up test within 7-14 days of arrival into Alaska.

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 7-14 days later, but confirm with the testing site at the airport their hours and availability.

The Alaska Testing Site Locator will provide guidance on which locations do not charge a fee for testing.

https://coronavirus-response-alaska-dhss.hub.arcgis.com/app/2d92b77bc8044329a1ee3954b063bd8c

Email Bonnie Bailey at bonnie.bailey@alaska.gov to indicate you will be a testing provider that will receive these vouchers. Include “Vouchers accepted” and the name of your facility/site in the subject line.  Include point of contact, mailing address, email address, and phone number in the body of the email.

You are encouraged to use your normal billing practices for the collection and processing of the SARS CoV2 molecular-based test. If a traveler is there for a test, no additional assessment fee should be added (such as history and physical). If the facility does add an assessment fee, they must make it clear to travelers they are charging for additional assessments outside of the collection and processing of the test. For patients without insurance you may submit the voucher for reimbursement at CMS rates of:

  • $25 for test collection
  • $100 if sent to private lab (not AK State Labs) for high throughput PCR processing.

Providers may initially submit the completed vouchers for reimbursement at traveler@alaska.gov.

No, there is a statewide standing order on file from Dr. Zink. The voucher includes information on the standing order itself. A copy of the statewide standing order is not required to be on file at the testing site.

No, the voucher program is completely voluntary.  The voucher program provides additional incentive for travelers to get a second test 7-14 days after arrival. This program allows the State of Alaska to increase surveillance and isolation of SARS CoV2 positive cases.

The voucher provides a medical order for travelers to get a second SARS CoV2 molecular-based test 7-14 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.

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.

Some testing locations will not charge a fee to the traveler, however that is up to the individual testing location to determine. The Alaska Testing Site Locator will provide guidance on which locations do not charge a fee for testing.

https://coronavirus-response-alaska-dhss.hub.arcgis.com/app/2d92b77bc8044329a1ee3954b063bd8c

Yes, you may travel to any available testing site to get tested.

No, there is a statewide standing order on file from Dr. Zink. The voucher includes information on the standing order itself. A copy of the statewide standing order is not required to be on file at the testing site.

At this time we ask that you follow your normal process which includes letting people know their results. All results are reported to the Division of Public Health. The Division of Public Health will work with you on positive cases.

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