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Infectious Disease

COVID-19 testing

What you need to know

Where to get tested if you are sick


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New testing guidelines for COVID-19

The State of Alaska has expanded testing criteria for COVID-19 and is encouraging anyone who has symptoms to get tested.

If you have new symptoms, even mild ones, that could be COVID-19 please contact your health care provider or your local Public Health Center. Symptoms of COVID-19 include: cough, chills, difficulty breathing, diminished sense of taste or smell, diarrhea, fatigue, fever, headache, muscle/joint aches, nausea, rash, chills with shivering, runny nose, sore throat, or increased sputum (phlegm) production.

Fever 83-99%, Cough 59-82%, Fatique 44-70%, Lack or loss of appetite 40-84%, 31-40%, Sputum production 28-33%, Myalgias 11-35%

Although most people with COVID-19 will start out with only one or two of these symptoms — and the symptoms will generally be very mild — people tend to be the most contagious during the first several days after symptom onset.

Your health care provider will determine if you should be referred for testing and can help you locate a testing site in your community. This Testing Sites Locator can also help you find a testing location. 

Public health nurses can issue a referral for testing and help Alaskans find a way to get tested. 

What to keep in mind

  • People tend to be most contagious during the first several days after symptom onset, even if their symptoms are very mild.

  • If you start experiencing ANY symptoms of an acute respiratory infection/COVID-19, stay home and isolated from others, practice social distancing and wear a cloth face covering if you must leave your house to seek medical treatment.

  • Contact your health care provider or Public Health Center before going in to see them. You may be diagnosed telephonically.

  • A test is neither a treatment nor a cure, but a tool to protect your health and the health of others.

What to do after you are tested

While you are waiting for your test result, you should stay home and follow this guidance to protect yourself and those around you. If you test positive for COVID-19, you should follow the same guidance and any advice from public health officials.

If you test negative for COVID-19, that likely means you are not infected. The tests are highly accurate but you do need to have enough of the virus present for a positive result. If your symptoms worsen, your provider may ask you to get tested again, or it’s possible you might get exposed again and need testing at a later date. In other words, a negative test result does not prevent you from getting sick later. Continue to monitor your health and retest again later if needed.

If you are experiencing a fever, it’s always wise to stay home to avoid infecting others.