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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.

For questions about COVID-19 vaccines in Alaska: Please visit the DHSS COVID-19 Vaccine Information for All Alaskans webpage.

For basic COVID-19 questions: Please visit the CDC’s Frequently Asked Questions webpage

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Review All of the Frequently Asked Questions

Critical Infrastructure Questions

Posted on March 23, 2021

With the exception of fully vaccinated individuals, workers who have to be in close contact with others, such as the production floor of a seafood processing plant or processing vessel, should not be permitted to work while under Close Contact Quarantine.

Individuals who are fully vaccinated (more than two weeks have elapsed since their final vaccine shot) do not have to observe close contact quarantine after being potentially exposed.

Vessel captains, site managers and other employers are strongly cautioned against allowing any other workers and crewmembers to continue to work while under quarantine after they have been exposed to a confirmed COVID-19 case. Employers should bear in mind that Close Contact Quarantine is different and more important than Entry Travel Quarantine, when it is not known whether or not someone has been exposed.

The CDC guidance which allows CI workers who have been identified as close contacts to an infectious individual to continue working was intended to allow businesses to continue providing essential services like power, water and emergency healthcare. Allowing exposed individuals to continue work carries inherent risk, and should really be done as a last resort.

When determining whether or not a Critical Infrastructure Worker is allowed to work during Close Contact Quarantine the following should be considered:

1. Is the close contact specifically critical to the operations? Individuals who can stay home should stay home.

2. If a close contact does have to work, could their responsibilities be temporarily changed in a way that reduces their contact with others? Is there a way to eliminate their contact with others who are higher risk (for example, older adults)?

Close contacts who have to continue working should adhere to the following practices:

  • Pre-Screen: Employers should measure the employee’s temperature and assess symptoms prior to them starting work. Ideally, temperature checks should happen before the individual enters the facility.
  • Regular Monitoring: As long as the employee doesn’t have a fever or symptoms, they should self-monitor under the supervision of their employer’s occupational health program.
  • Wear a Mask: The employee should wear a face mask at all times while in the workplace for 14 days after last exposure. Employers can issue facemasks or can approve employees’ supplied cloth face coverings in the event of shortages.
  • Social Distance: The employee should maintain 6 feet and practice social distancing as work duties permit in the workplace.
  • Disinfect and Clean work spaces: Clean and disinfect all areas such as offices, bathrooms, common areas, shared electronic equipment routinely.
  • Close contacts who must continue working are still under quarantine outside their working hours.
  • Negative test results may potentially be used to shorten the duration of Close Contact Quarantine.

If you have any questions, please call the Alaska Section of Epidemiology at 907-269-8000.

Posted on March 23, 2021

If you are a uniformed crewmember arriving to an air terminal and going immediately into controlled lodging for crew rest before flying the following day, you do not have to fill out a Traveler Declaration Form or go through the arrival screening. If you are returning home for a longer break and will not be in controlled lodging or departing the following day, it is strongly recommended that you fill out a Traveler Declaration Form and go through entry screening. You do not need to test unless it is required by your airline.

UPDATED 3/22/21
Screening for all domestic cargo flight crews is strongly encouraged and available at the airport at no cost. All flight crews arriving to the State of Alaska directly from a foreign airport must still meet the Federal requirement for a pre-travel test, put forth by the CDC. Air Crew members should still be following the guidance of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Safety Alert For Operators (SAFO) 20009.

UPDATED 3/22/21

Testing for all non-resident travelers is strongly encouraged and available at the airport at no cost.

Posted on November 16, 2020

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.

Once filed with the State, Community/Workforce Protective Plans (CWPPs) developed by private sector businesses will remain in place until rescinded or revised by the submitting company. CI businesses strongly encouraged to submit a CWPP, but are no longer required to do so under the current Health Advisories. 

Updated on March 23, 2021

The preferred method for arriving workers to get tested would be through a program arranged by the employer through an occupational health contractor such as Beacon or Capstone who offer services for testing upon arrival. If there are no options available through the employer, arriving CI workers can be tested free of charge at the State-funded test sites in the airports.

UPDATED 3/22/21
Active duty servicemembers, DoD Civilians on TAD/TDY orders and members of the Alaska Organized Militia (AKOM) are considered Critical Infrastructure Workers. DoD dependents on PCS orders are traveling in support of a Critical Personal Need. Active duty servicemembers and DoD Civilians on TAD/TDY orders and Alaska Organized Militia members on Federal active duty orders will follow the travel guidelines in the DoD Force Health Protection Guidance, Supplement 12 (Travel) and the appropriate service-level guidance. AKOM members on State active duty orders will follow the travel guidelines from DMVA.  

UPDATED 3/22/21

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

UPDATED 3/22/21
For the purposes of travel to and within Alaska, all mineral extraction is considered critical, and included under the Critical Manufacturing Section of the Federal guidance. All miners and support personnel are considered CI Workers.

UPDATED 3/22/21
For the purposes of travel to and within Alaska, all commercial fishing vessels, tenders, processors, catcher-processors and setnet sites are considered “seafood harvesting facilities” under the Food and Agriculture Section of the Federal guidance. All crewmembers, harvesters and inspectors aboard those vessels and sites are considered CI Workers.

UPDATED 3/22/21

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

General Questions – Alaska’s Response

UPDATED 4/2/21

Staff and volunteer positions may be available to help with the COVID-19 response in Alaska. 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!

State of Alaska Employment:

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

Visit Workplace Alaska to check on the most recent job postings. Search for “public health” in Workplace Alaska job postings to find the most current opportunities. Each position lists a point of contact for questions regarding that specific job opportunity.

Volunteers – Licensed Healthcare Professionals:

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

UPDATED 3/22/21
Some people with disabilities may not be able to wear masks due to health and safety concerns. Individuals who state they have a disability that prevents them from safely wearing a mask should be allowed to enter a health care facility if doing so does not place others at risk or offered reasonable modifications to access the health care services. Reasonable modifications may include requiring use of a separate area for entrance/exit, exam, or treatment; scheduling these patients as the last appointments of the day; or increasing provider PPE.

Please note modifications may not be an option if:

  • It would fundamentally alter the service provided.
  • It would create undue burden such as significant difficulty or expense.
  • The individual poses a direct threat to the health or safety of staff and/or patients.

UPDATED 3/22/21


Compliance is recommended, not mandatory, but if you have any concerns, please email investigations@alaska.gov, or contact your local law enforcement authorities.

UPDATED 3/22/21

Depending on the location and testing capacity, it could be anywhere from a few hours to several days. Airport locations usually give results in 12 hours – 5 days but depending on volume the turnaround may be longer. The State’s testing dashboard provides 14-day average testing turnaround times for various labs operating in Alaska.

UPDATED 3/22/21

Many locations and communities offer free COVID-19 testing but health insurance may be billed or fees may apply. Please inquire about charges at your testing site.

UPDATED 3/22/21

The Alaska Testing Site Locator provides guidance on testing locations.

Travel Questions

Posted on March 23, 2021

If you are a uniformed crewmember arriving to an air terminal and going immediately into controlled lodging for crew rest before flying the following day, you do not have to fill out a Traveler Declaration Form or go through the arrival screening. If you are returning home for a longer break and will not be in controlled lodging or departing the following day, it is strongly recommended that you fill out a Traveler Declaration Form and go through entry screening. You do not need to test unless it is required by your airline.

UPDATED 3/22/21
Screening for all domestic cargo flight crews is strongly encouraged and available at the airport at no cost. All flight crews arriving to the State of Alaska directly from a foreign airport must still meet the Federal requirement for a pre-travel test, put forth by the CDC. Air Crew members should still be following the guidance of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Safety Alert For Operators (SAFO) 20009.

UPDATED 3/22/21

Testing for all non-resident travelers is strongly encouraged and available at the airport at no cost.

UPDATED 3/22/21

COVID-19 testing is recommended three days prior to travel to locations on the road system and the Alaska Marine Highway System. Without a test, strict social distancing should be followed.

Expectations apply for communities allowing travel Critical Infrastructure personnel, as well as for community members and Critical Personal needs.

UPDATED 3/22/21

Yes, free airport testing is available to anyone who wants it. There is no state-mandated requirement for intrastate travelers to test prior to travel or to quarantine while waiting for these test results. However, 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.

Communities should not prevent residents from returning home but can consider enacting protective measures to mitigate potential introduction/spread of the virus, such as encouraging a pre-travel test, a period of strict social distancing after arrival, or bracketed testing before and after that period..

Visit the Safe Travels Alaska community webpage for local travel requirements required by specific communities.

UPDATED 3/22/21

No. However, local communities may enact travel restrictions. Check before you go! Many communities have set up their own travel rules. Visit the Safe Travels Alaska community webpage for local travel requirements required by specific communities.

UPDATED 3/22/21

Due to Canada’s current travel restrictions for U.S. citizens, only essential road travel is allowed in or out of Alaska until further notice. Alaska border crossings include Haines, Hyder, Skagway, and Little Gold (Tok) Alaska – as well as Beaver Creek in the Yukon Territory.

For more information about Canadian border restrictions, contact: Canada Border Services Agency at 1-800-461-9999 or visit their website.

Please visit the Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities website for more information navigating road travel along the Canadian Border.

UPDATED 3/22/21

It’s strongly encouraged that anyone traveling to Alaska complete the Travel Declaration Form and Self-Isolation Plan on the Alaska Travel Portal (www.alaska.covidsecureapp.com) and test 72 hours prior to arrival in Alaska, or as soon as you enter Alaska.

UPDATED 3/22/21

No molecular-based test for SARS-CoV2 is required for either immediately before travel or upon arrival, but testing is strongly encouraged including a second test 5-14 days after arrival into Alaska. However, the CDC does not recommend getting tested again in the 3 months after a positive viral test, as long as you do not have symptoms of COVID-19.

UPDATED 3/22/21

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

UPDATED 3/22/21

No. The state is 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.

UPDATED 3/22/21
Molecular tests for SARS CoV-2 such as variations of PCR, CEPHIED GENEXPERT, BIOFIRE or ABBOTT IDNOW are recommended.

Antigen tests are not recommended because they are more likely to miss an active coronavirus infection compared to molecular tests. Antibody (serology) tests are also not recommended given because they do not provide evidence of current infection.

Molecular-based SARS-CoV-2 tests 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.

UPDATED 2/23/21

You will be required to isolate at your own expense for a minimum of 10 days, or until you are cleared by a public health nurse. You will not be able to fly unless cleared by public health. Every traveler into Alaska is asked to fill out a three-question self-isolation plan in the Alaska Travel Portal.

UPDATED 3/22/21

Strict social distancing is recommended while you wait for test results, unless you are fully vaccinated (two weeks have passed since receiving your final dose of vaccine).  You can be in an outdoor public place, but you should remain six feet away from anyone not in your immediate household, and you should wear a face covering. You should arrange curbside shopping or have food delivery. You should not enter restaurants, bars, gyms, community centers, sporting facilities (i.e., ice rinks, gymnasiums, and sports domes), office buildings, and school or daycare facilities. Please do not participate in any group activities, including sporting events and practices, weddings, funerals, or other gatherings.

UPDATED 3/22/21

If you have arrived in Alaska and your test results are pending or you tested at the airport upon arrival, please practice “strict social distancing” until you receive your negative result. However, if you are fully vaccinated (two weeks have passed since your final dose), we no longer recommend any period of “strict social distancing”

UPDATED 3/22/21

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

UPDATED 3/22/21

It’s strongly suggested that all travelers into Alaska obtain testing before they travel. If they wish to test upon arrival, testing is available at no cost at the following airports:

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

UPDATED 3/22/21

Travelers are strongly encouraged to complete the Travel Declaration Form found online at the Alaska Travel Portal at www.alaska.covidsecureapp.com

Updated 3/22/21

No, but testing prior to arriving in Alaska is strongly encouraged. Testing at the airport upon arrival in Alaska is available for both residents and non-residents at no cost. No insurance is required. Testing prior to arrival is still recommended for fully vaccinated persons.

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