Alaska to replace 14-day quarantine with testing, preferably in advance but also offered at airports

Electron scanning microscope image showing the novel coronavirus in blue (Image from NIAID)

Gov. Mike Dunleavy is ending Alaska’s 14-day quarantine for new arrivals. Instead, visitors and Alaskans returning to the state will be asked to take a test within 72 hours of boarding an Alaska-bound flight. 

“We do believe that this will open up Alaska more,” Dunleavy said.

The new policy goes into effect June 5. 

Dunleavy said travelers who can’t produce proof that they’ve had a recent test and that the results were negative will be given the choice of taking a test at the terminal or beginning a 14-day quarantine. 

“We think this is going to make things a lot easier,” than the 14-day quarantine, Dunleavy said of the test. 

Travelers also will be required to fill out a form on their flights before arriving in the state. 

“We’re going to try to make this as easy as possible and still have significant safeguards,” for travelers and Alaskans, the governor said. 

While the policy allows other options, Dunleavy said everyone really should get tested before they fly. Otherwise, he said, passengers run the risk of a significant delay at the terminal if there’s a line. If the contractor runs out of test kits, he said, passengers who didn’t get tested in advance may have to quarantine.

The state has worked out separate plans for industries that are bringing workers to the state, including fishing, mining and oil companies. 

Dunleavy said some individual communities off of the road system may continue to have limits on non-essential travel. 

Dunleavy and Alaska Chief Medical Officer Dr. Anne Zink have credited the mandate, which dates to March 25, with helping to keep Alaska’s rate of infections to the third-lowest in the country, after Hawaii and Montana. Hawaii Gov. David Ige has said that he plans to keep that state’s 14-day out-of-state quarantine past June 30.