Bronson administration calls for more funds to restore COVID-19 testing to pre-levels in Anchorage


After funds for COVID-19 testing in Anchorage began to run out, resulting in reduced hours and a shift in focus at various sites, the mayor’s administration asked for more money on Tuesday to bring back the levels to normal.

A spokesman for Anchorage Mayor Dave Bronson said in an email Tuesday that a request for $ 2.65 million would be submitted to the Anchorage Assembly as an emergency order.

The funding would fill a gap resulting from a dramatic increase in COVID-19 testing since mid-summer, Anchorage Department of Health Director Joe Gerace said recently. The daily number of cases in Anchorage has reached new pandemic highs in the current outbreak, and more cases have been identified as more people have requested testing with widespread viral transmission.

Gerace said funding for virus testing would not last until the end of October if testing levels remained unusually high, which is why the city now highlighted that its contracted sites operated by Visit Healthcare are intended to be used “only by people with symptoms of COVID-19 or close contacts of a case of COVID-19”. Other testing locations remain available to the public, and a spokesperson for the city’s health department said people looking for tests that do not meet those criteria will not be turned down.

The weekend and Monday test sites in Anchorage saw long lines, especially at the popular drive-thru site at Loussac Library, which had more than a dozen cars lined up a hour before its opening Monday.

As of last Friday, the city slashed the testing schedule by 108 hours per week at its sites, including the Loussac Library, Changepoint Church and Muldoon Community Assembly. This step was also necessary to help maintain testing for the rest of the month, Gerace said.

The request for additional funding is expected to restore testing to previous levels through the end of November, according to Bronson spokesman Corey Allen Young. He has the support of the Assembly, he said.

Members of the Anchorage Assembly voted in favor of the funding request at their Tuesday night meeting but had not yet considered it at 8 p.m.


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