A new COVID-19 testing site at the Kodiak Benny Benson State Airport has been in operation since last week, adding to the number of testing sites offered by the Kodiak Area Native Association.
KANA offers free testing for the community, with sites already established at their Mill Bay Health Center and at their main building on East Rezanof Drive. A testing site at East Elementary is a collaboration between KANA, Kodiak Community Health Center and the Coast Guard.
During a three-day period ending Thursday, 37 tests were requested at the airport site, according to KANA. Across all testing sites, KANA tested a total of 85 patients on Wednesday and 32 on Thursday.
On Monday, 147 tests were requested at KANA sites, one of the highest numbers in a single day since testing started.
As of Thursday, a total of 2,651 tests had been performed across all medical providers on the island, with 10 tests returning positive.
The Kodiak Area Emergency Services Organization announced the 10th confirmed COVID-19 case late Thursday. The individual is a nonresident and believed to be a travel-related case. A contact investigation is underway.
KANA’s medical director, Dr. Elise Pletnikoff, said the number of tests should increase after flights to Kodiak begin increasing in frequency later this month.
According to Marilyn Romano, regional vice president of Alaska Airlines, flights will increase in July and August from the seven flights per week to 10 per week, with morning flights soon to be added on Mondays, Fridays and Sundays. The three additional flights are slated to arrive at 6:30 a.m. from Anchorage, and depart at 8:10 a.m.
“The additions are based on what we see in the increase in the need to fly between Anchorage and Kodiak,” Romano said, adding that the additional flights should begin next week. According to the airline’s online timetable, the first new morning flight is scheduled for July 6.
The Alaska Department of Health and Social Services reported 39 new COVID-19 cases on Thursday, for a statewide total of 1,017 cases. There have been 535 recovered cases, 68 hospitalizations and 14 deaths.
One of the Kodiak cases that was reported as a nonresident by local health officials was reported by state health officials as a resident, which brings Kodiak’s positive case count to four residents and six nonresidents.
The Kodiak Island Ambulatory Care Clinic Inc. and KANA both offer free testing, while Kodiak Community Health Center works with patients so that payment is not a barrier to getting tested.