Wrangell receives 200 at-home COVID test kits, with promise of more

Two hundred at-home COVID-19 test kits were delivered to Wrangell’s emergency operations center last Friday, and more will soon be on the way.

Capt. Dorianne Sprehe, of the EOC, said the fire department received the kits via SEARHC, and is making them available free to anyone who requests them.

“We’ve already handed out a couple over the weekend,” Sprehe said on Monday. The kits are available to pick up any time at the fire hall between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday. People who plan on large gatherings, especially those with friends or family coming from out of town for the holidays, are encouraged to get kits. They can also be reserved by calling 907-874-2333 or emailing travel@wrangell.com.

After setting a record in November at 66 COVID-19 cases in the community, the borough has reported just one new case in December, as of Monday. The statewide count has averaged about 200 cases per day the past two weeks, down substantially from six times that number in September.

Testing also is still available at the Wrangell Medical Center, Sprehe said.

The tests are QuickVue at-home tests manufactured by Quidel. Each test is a two-step process. The second test needs to be taken between 24 hours 36 hours after the first test. Results for each are available within 10 minutes.

Each box contains two tests.

Towns throughout Southeast are receiving at-home testing kits, with some obtaining more initially than others. Haines received 1,000 kits, though it was the brand Binax, with test results available in about 15 minutes.

Ketchikan received 1,300 of the QuickVue kits, said Jen Bergen, nurse manager of public health. The kits are available to residents through public health and at fire stations throughout the borough.

Staff had distributed about 1,100 tests in Ketchikan as of Dec. 13, Bergen said. If a test is positive, she said the person should isolate for 10 days of the onset of symptoms or from the time the positive result is received if a person is asymptomatic. “Then you’ll want to notify all your close contacts, and then follow up with your health provider if you need help.”

Anyone who needs help with contract tracing can call the state’s COVID-19 hotline at (907) 531-3329.

Wrangell will be receiving 500 additional at-home test kits soon, Sprehe said, though she didn’t have an exact date.


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