Anchorage announces new COVID-19 testing sites

The Lake Otis coronavirus testing site on July 28, 2020, when the city sent out an alert warning of traffic disruption due to long lines (Matt Faubion/Alaska Public Media)

Anchorage’s Emergency Operations Center announced it is opening five new testing sites around the city. 

Tests at the new locations will be free and open to the public three days a week and do not require a referral from a doctor. The sites will be open Mondays, Fridays and Saturdays and open for walk-up or drive-through. 

Patients seeking tests at the existing test site have reported wait times of several hours in recent weeks as COVID-19 infections have risen. 

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After putting the contract out for bid, the city settled on a California company, Visit Healthcare as part of a $5.5 million, three-month contract paid for with money from FEMA. Part of the reason is the company’s ability to do testing, said Audrey Gray, with the city’s Emergency Operations Center. Around the country, shortages of materials required for testing have led to delays in getting test results back. But Gray said that the company assured Anchorage officials it has the capacity to handle Anchorage’s tests. 

“The company is hoping for a 24- to 48-hour turnaround time for those tests, but we’re still waiting to see if that’s going to happen or not,” she said. 

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She says that she expects the only potential for delays will be issues with getting samples from Alaska to California for processing. 

“Whether it be weather or other things, or maybe there’s a plane that’s broken that the tests were supposed to go on,” she said. 

The sites will also be performing regular, organized testing in congregate living facilities and for essential workers. 

The five testing sites will be located in the parking lots of the following:

– ChangePoint Church, 6689 Changepoint Drive

– Fairview Community Recreation Center, 1121 East 10th Avenue

– Anchorage Church of Christ, 2700 Debarr Road

– Muldoon Community Assembly, 7041 Debarr Road

– Z.J. Loussac Library, 3600 Denali Street

The testing sites will be open Mondays from 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.; Fridays from 12:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.; and Saturdays from 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.