Free lunchtime drive-through coronavirus testing will return to downtown Ketchikan Wednesday and Thursday. That’s according to emergency operations center chief Abner Hoage.
And testing is no longer restricted to solely those with symptoms of the virus. Starting Wednesday, the elderly, those with some underlying medical conditions, healthcare workers, and recent travelers are eligible, even without symptoms.
Hoage told Ketchikan’s borough assembly that healthcare workers administered 116 COVID-19 tests during a three-day testing event last week. More than half remain pending as of Tuesday. There have been no positives.
Though testing was limited in the early days of the pandemic, Hoage told the assembly that Ketchikan now has more than 1,000 test kits on hand. He says officials have also secured a continuous supply from testing company Quest Diagnostics.
“We have the testing capacity locally through our local providers to test anyone with symptoms, no matter how minor,” Hoage told the assembly. “And we would request that anyone with symptoms consistent with COVID-19 get tested.”
Qualifying symptoms include a fever, cough or trouble breathing, but also about a dozen others: chills, diarrhea, fatigue, headaches, muscle or joint aches, nausea or vomiting, a rash, runny nose or sore throat.
Those with the following medical conditions — and their caregivers — are eligible for testing, even without any of the above symptoms:
- Chronic lung disease
- Moderate to severe asthma
- Serious heart conditions
- Severe obesity (body mass index of 40 or more)
- Chronic kidney disease requiring dialysis
- Liver disease
People over 65, healthcare workers, first responders, and people who have recently traveled outside Ketchikan also qualify for asymptomatic testing.
This week’s testing event will take place at Berth 3 Wednesday and Thursday from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Vehicles will enter the site from the intersection of Dock Street and Front Street. Masks are required, and adults must bring a current photo ID. Those without vehicles can call the testing hotline at 247-TEST to schedule a walk-up appointment.