A view of Metlakatla on Annette Island, Alaska’s only Native reserve. (File photo by Leila Kheiry)

Metlakatla Indian Community will shut down its COVID-19 management team at the end of next month. 

The change was announced in a statement from MIC last week. 

For most of the pandemic, Metlakatla has employed “trackers” — tribal officials who enforced travel restrictions and quarantine requirements for residents and visitors. Their tracking work ended on Friday, though they’ll stay on the payroll for a couple more weeks as the response winds down.

The team will be conducting COVID tests until the end of next month. Once the team stops offering tests, residents will either need to use a home test kit or call the local healthcare provider, the Annette Island Service Unit. As of Wednesday, Metlakatla’s COVID-19 team had 170 home test kits available for residents — but they all expire in less than two weeks.

Even as the pandemic response comes to a close, Metlakatla authorities advise anyone who has traveled outside of either Ketchikan or Metlakatla to take a COVID test or wear a mask for five days.