COVID testing locations in Anchorage closed as Mat-Su weather keeps staff home

A sign outside says: Closed for the rest of the day at this site.
The COVID-19 testing site at Alaska Airlines Center had a closed sign on Monday, Jan. 3, 2021, prompting confusion among Alaskans looking to get tested. It was one of three testing sites closed in Anchorage. (Annie Feidt/Alaska Public Media)

The powerful winds in the Matanuska-Susitna Borough kept some health care workers at home Monday, leading to the temporary closure of three COVID-19 testing sites in the Anchorage area as cases surge.

The closed, free testing locations run by Capstone are at the Alaska Airlines Center, Changepoint Church and off the Old Glenn Hwy in Eagle River. The unexpected closures Monday led to some confusion, with people posting on social media about their surprise to find the sites shuttered and cars still lining up.

Matt Jones, the general manager for outside operations at Capstone, said the testing sites will reopen as soon as weather allows for regular staffing. The city said the testing sites were scheduled to reopen Tuesday.

Three other Capstone testing sites remained open Monday: one near C Street and Tudor Road, one at Alaska Park near the airport and the third at 301 Calista Court near Dimond Boulevard. Free drive-thru testing was also available at Walgreens.

RELATED: Strong winds hammer Mat-Su, leading to widespread damage and power outages

The city is distributing free at-home tests at the Spenard and Fairview recreation centers, but ran out Monday. The city said it couldn’t get more tests immediately because of the bad weather in Mat-Su, and the sites would not have home tests available Tuesday.

Meanwhile, COVID-19 cases are starting to surge again, driven by the omicron variant. More than 2,800 new COVID cases have been reported in the state since Wednesday. Anchorage’s seven-day case rate is up 450% from last Monday. Nearly all parts of the state are at the high alert level.

The Anchorage Health Department is advising people to get tested only if they’re showing symptoms, per CDC guidelines. Those in the Anchorage area can find open testing locations online at anchoragecovidtest.org.

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