Klawock SEARHC Confirms they Have a Coronavirus Rapid Test Machine on Site - P.O.W. Report

Tuesday, April 14, 2020

Klawock SEARHC Confirms they Have a Coronavirus Rapid Test Machine on Site

Yesterday, POW Report posted an April 7th news-release from SEARHC that talked about "rapid test machines" which were sent to many southeast communities including Klawock. POW Report talked to a SEARHC representative and was able to confirm that as of Tuesday, April 14th Klawock does in fact have one coronavirus rapid test machine.

What a rapid test looks like:

Unlike other virus tests, this new machine is much less invasive and is able to give a result in under 30 minutes. The machine, that is now operable in Klawock, has the ability to test 45 people who meet the 'high risk group.' This group includes the elderly and critical response staff who are on the front lines during this pandemic. 

The SEARHC representative also confirmed that they are looking into sending more kits and increase testing capability to more than 45 people. Those who do not meet the 'high risk group' will still be tested, however their results may take between 24 and 48 hours to come back. 

Original Press-Release:

SITKA, April 8, 2020 – On Tuesday, April 7, the SouthEast Alaska Regional Health Consortium (SEARHC) Incident Command System (ICS) announced the pending arrival of several COVID-19 rapid test machines from the medical equipment manufacturer Abbott. Each machine is accompanied by approximately 45 testing kits and will be available in seven SEARHC communities in the coming days, allowing for same-day, in-house COVID-19 test results.

Providers in the communities of Sitka, Juneau, Wrangell, Klawock, Haines, Hoonah and Kake will be the first to receive rapid test machines, with Angoon and other communities to follow as additional units become available. With only a limited number of kits currently on hand, SEARHC Medical Directors have implemented strict guidelines to ensure rapid tests are utilized in only the most timely and essential situations. Prioritizing use of the Abbott rapid test is ultimately at the discretion of the site Medical Director, but criteria is in place to include situations that limit the spread of COVID among community members at high-risk for severe illness, such as a long-term care, nursing home, or assisted living. In addition, instances that improve safety of healthcare workers, and availability of critical staff and supplies, may be prioritized as well.

“SEARHC leadership is excited to add rapid response testing to our available resources during the pandemic,” said SEARHC Vice President and Chief Medical Officer Dr. Elliot Bruhl. “The ability to produce fast test results in-house will be extremely valuable as we work to protect our high-risk populations, as well as ensure staff on the front lines are safe and available to provide care.”

Patients who do not meet the rapid test criteria, but meet the symptomatic guidelines for a COVID-19 test, will be tested by SEARHC providers with either the State Lab or the private LabCorp receiving the cultures, depending on which facility has the quickest turn-around time at the time of testing (typically 24-48 hours). Due to known community spread of COVID-19 in our region, tests are currently available to all patients exhibiting a fever and cough, or shortness of breath, regardless of travel or exposure history.

For more information on test availability, including alternative test site locations and contact information for the SEARHC provider in your community, visit covid19.searhc.org or call the SEARHC COVID-19 Hotline at 907.966.8799.

More Details on the Second Wuhan Coronavirus Case in Craig:

Craig City staff was notified by Alaska Public Health on Friday April 10th that the first case of COVID-19 was confirmed. On Monday, April 13th Public Health notified the city that a second case in Craig had been confirmed.

Both confirmed cases on Prince of Wales are in Craig. Public Health and the Division of Epidemiology are continuing to conduct case investigations to identify contacts and determine the method of transmission.

Public Health has confirmed that the two cases are not related. The method of transmission in the second confirmed case was travel related. The method of transmission in the first case has not been determined. Case transmission is classified as travel related, local, or unknown by the state’s Section of Epidemiology. Public Health will work to determine the method of transmission in the first case as they continue their case investigation.

Based on information posted at the Alaska Division of Health and Social Services COVID-19 website the first case is a female aged 70 – 79. The second case is a male aged 20 – 29.

We are continuing to strongly advise residents to strictly follow all health mandates and advisories to reduce the risk of spreading the virus in Craig. These measures include:

  •  Do not socialize with persons outside of your household
  •  Maintain good social distancing at all times keeping at least six feet between persons
  •  Keep all trips for essential services to a minimum to avoid contact and wear a face mask/covering when you do need to make essential service trips
  •  Stay home as much as possible
  •  Wash your hands frequently and avoid touching your face as much as possible
  •  If you have symptoms or have a temperature of 100.4° F or higher contact your primary healthcare provider and self isolate immediately

In order to help local residents prevent the spread of the virus in town the city has started a program asking residents and businesses to donate mask making materials (tightly woven cotton fabric, elastic, string for ties, thread, etc.) and volunteers with sewing skills to sew the masks. When they are finished the masks will be washed and sanitized, individually packaged, and made available for the public to pick up. We will be putting totes near the entrance of AC Thompson House for drop off of materials and drop off of finished masks. We will also set up a table with masks for distribution as masks are finished, washed and packaged. If you would like more information about this program or would like to volunteer to make masks call Victoria Merritt at 826-2575 or Craig City Hall at 826-3275.

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