COVID-19 Vaccines and Testing

SEARHC is committed to keeping everyone healthy and safe during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and annual flu season.

Two COVID-19 vaccines were approved by the FDA and were proven safe and 95% effective. Vaccines have arrived, and SEARHC is following state guidance as outlined by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) for administering. Certain communities have started vaccinating the general public.

Click here to register for a vaccine in your community.

COVID-19 tests continue to be available. Read more below or call the COVID Hotline at 907.966.8799 for more information.

SEARHC COVID-19 Case Update

Updated March 5, 2021 at 8 a.m. AKDT

About COVID-19

COVID-19 AND INFLUENZA

Flu season has compounded the challenges our providers are facing in combatting the pandemic. Since the flu and COVID-19 share symptoms, receiving your annual flu vaccination is more important than ever.  Schedule a flu shot at your local clinic.

MAKE AN APPOINTMENT

If you are concerned you might have contracted COVID-19, don’t panic, as the flu or another respiratory virus is still the most likely cause of symptoms. Contact your healthcare provider for advice. If you choose to visit an emergency department, call ahead to alert staff of your COVID-19 concerns.

Questions? Contact the SEARHC clinic in your community, or call the COVID Hotline at 907.966.8799 seven days a week from 8 a.m. – 5 p.m.

COVID-19 VACCINE

Vaccinating Southeast residents is essential in fighting COVID-19 and protecting the health of our families and our communities. To register for the vaccine, click here. Provide a valid email at registration, and you will receive instructions to schedule your appointment as soon as the vaccine is available for your sequence group. 

Join Dr. Bruhl and Tlingit & Haida for the recent Lunch and Learn on the COVID-19 vaccine

Alaska Department of Health and Social Services

The Alaska Department of Health and Social Services (ADHSS) is closely monitoring an outbreak of respiratory illness caused by a novel coronavirus. For state health updates, click below.

Learn More

Centers for Disease Control (CDC)

The Center for Disease Control is responding to Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19).

Learn More

SEARHC Going Virtual and Expanding Test Criteria

SouthEast Alaska Regional Health Consortium (SEARHC) is rolling out virtual appointments with providers to further reduce patient contact and facility contamination during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Learn More

Wrangell COVID-19 Stakeholders Discuss Mandates, Surge Plans, Virtual Care

On Wednesday, March 25, Wrangell COVID-19 responders participated in their weekly joint meeting to discuss the latest actions made in preparation the coronavirus reaching the island. City and Borough of Wrangell (CBW) leadership…

Learn More

SEARHC PATIENT HEALTH BENEFITS OFFERS ASSISTANCE DURING COVID-19 CRISIS

SEARHC Patient Health Benefits (PHB) team is available to answer patient health coverage questions that arise from the coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis.

Learn More

INCIDENT COMMAND ENSURES STAFFING IN ALL COMMUNITIES

SEARHC Incident Command System (ICS) met again on Tuesday, March 17, to discuss the latest coronavirus (COVID-19) developments and direct unit leaders in appropriate responses to relay to staff.

Learn More

SEARHC Introduces Alternative Testing Sites in Five Communities

To expedite the coronavirus (COVID-19) testing process and eliminate unnecessary contamination of primary care clinics, SEARHC recently opened alternative testing sites in five communities.

Learn More

COVID-19 in the U.S.

The CDC is monitoring COVID-19 in the U.S. Click here as news is updated regularly at noon Mondays through Fridays.

Learn More

COVID-19 Visual Representation by Johns Hopkins

See a visual representation of COVID-19 impact globally, as reported by Johns Hopkins.

Learn More

Wrangell Sentinel News: SEARHC Taking Proactive Approach with Novel Coronavirus

While Alaska has yet to see any confirmed cases of the 2019 novel coronavirus, now known as COVID-19, the SEARHC is working to monitor, contain, and mitigate the impact of the virus.

Learn More

SEARHC Taking Proactive Approach with Novel Coronavirus

SEARHC’s top priority is the safety of our patients and staff,” said SEARHC Vice President and Chief Medical Officer Dr. Elliot Bruh

Learn More

What to know about Coronavirus

Since early January, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has been actively engaged in the international response to the rapidly escalating outbreak of respiratory infections linked to the 2019 novel coronavirus.

Learn More

Two COVID-19 vaccines were approved by the FDA and were proven safe and 95% effective. Vaccines have arrived, and SEARHC is following state guidance as outlined by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) in administering. Certain communities have started vaccinating the general public. Scan the QR code below to register for a vaccine in your community.

*Patients must be at least 16-years-old to be eligible for a Pfizer vaccine and 18-years-old for Moderna.
*In Juneau, vaccines are available to beneficiaries and existing patients only.

Where can I schedule my COVID-19 vaccine?

Open the camera app on your smartphone and scan the QR code below, or click this link. It will take you to a form where you can register for a vaccine in your area. Rest assured that patients will be contacted as soon as their vaccine is scheduled in accordance with sequence grouping. Please use a valid email address, as self-scheduling instructions will be sent via this method. If no appointments are available, please continue to attempt using the same scheduling link. Appointments will continue to open as vaccine doses arrive within the SEARHC Care Network.

Are the vaccines safe?

The safety and effectiveness of a vaccine is determined during clinical trials. The FDA only authorizes vaccines after they have passed three phases of clinical trials, involving tens of thousands of people and months of data collection and analysis. After a vaccine is authorized, the FDA and CDC continue to monitor it using three existing federal safety systems. Doctors and scientists make safety decisions at the FDA and CDC that prioritize the health and well-being of every American citizen and are above political pressures.

No steps are skipped during the clinical trial process for COVID-19 vaccines. Vaccine safety checks continue as long as a vaccine is available. More information on vaccine safety is available online from the CDC, FDA and DHSS. If you have additional safety questions about vaccines, ask your healthcare provider.

Are the vaccines effective?

Each COVID-19 vaccine must meet FDA standards for effectiveness. Nearly all COVID-19 vaccines being approved and authorized in the United States require two shots spaced three to four weeks apart. The first shot starts building protection; it is essential to get the second shot for the vaccine to be effective and provide maximum protection. The Pfizer and Moderna vaccines are 95% effective within one to two weeks after the second shot. SEARHC Medical Directors encourage all SEARHC staff and community members to get the vaccine. Getting vaccinated can protect you, your family, and your community from COVID-19.

What are SEARHC’s vaccine sequencing guidelines?

Based on the guidance of state, national, and global vaccination specialists including the Center for Disease Control, the National Academy of Science, the National Academy of Medicine, the Canadian National Advisory Committee on Immunization, and the Minnesota Department of Health, SEARHC has created the following sequence for prioritizing vaccines: 

1) Long-term Care and healthcare: 

    • All residents in a care home for older adults and their caregivers. Congregant living centers for vulnerable adults/those with physical and mental disabilities.
    • All patient-facing healthcare staff including EVS and ancillary services in hospitals, and EMS/fire/safety. Vaccine givers.
    • Others who work within the care environment of hospitals and clinics.

2) Elders, aged 80 and over

3) Elders, aged 75 and over, and frontline essential workers, as defined by the CDC

4) Older individuals, aged 65 to 74, medically vulnerable, other essential workers: 

    • Medically vulnerable individuals aged 16-64 with. underlying health conditions that put them at a higher risk of serious disease and mortality, including disabled adults living independently.
    • “Other essential workers” as defined by the CDC

5) All those aged 55 to 64

6) All those aged 50 and over

7) General population

Is it better to get the vaccine or to hope that if I get COVID-19, I will develop antibodies?

Getting vaccinated is the safest and most responsible way to protect the health and wellbeing of our patients, friends and family. Both the virus and the vaccines are new. There is no consistent evidence about how long protection lasts for those who get infected or those who are vaccinated. However, if you get the virus, you also risk giving it to your loved ones which may result in very serious illness or death. Getting the vaccination is the safest choice.

What are the side effects of the vaccine?

Possible side effects associated with the vaccines include pain, redness and swelling at the injection site. 5% or less will experience low-grade fever or mild headache. These side effects typically last about two days. COVID-19 vaccines have been tested in large clinical trials and have been found to be safe. Safety monitoring will continue, as it does for all vaccines. CDC has an independent group of experts that reviews all the safety data as it comes in and provides regular safety updates.

Vaccine Data from SEARHC Facilities:
Updated March 5, 2021, at 8 a.m. AKDT

Community 1st Dose 2nd Dose
Angoon 243 229
Gustavus 219 64
Haines 1,111 921
Hoonah 436 388
Juneau 2,281 1,392
Kake 315 270
Prince of Wales 1,262 991
Sitka 3,619 2,990
Wrangell 938 671

 

Confirmed Positive Cases at SEARHC Facilities:
Updated March 5, 2021, at 8 a.m. AKDT

252 in Juneau

306 in Sitka 

31 in Wrangell

14 in Haines

19 in Klawock

9 in Gustavus

2 in Hydaburg

27 in Kake

17 in Angoon

3 in Skagway

2 in Petersburg

State Case Update:
For the most up-to-date information, please visit the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services (AHDSS).

SEARHC is committed to keeping everyone healthy and safe during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and annual flu season. To ensure the availability of tests and further reduce turnaround time for results, SEARHC has begun to prioritize testing for those showing symptoms of COVID-19 or those who have been in close contact with a positive case. 

COVID-19 tests are available to all who meet the symptomatic guidelines – including fever, cough, shortness of breath, fatigue, body aches, headache, loss of taste or smell, sore throat, congestion, runny nose, or diarrhea. Please provide Medicare or Medicaid information at the time of scheduling to have your insurance billed. There will be no out-of-pocket charges for symptomatic or close contact testing. 

Symptomatic COVID-19 tests are by referral only for community members who meet testing criteria. Asymptomatic tests will remain available by appointment, with patients responsible for covering a fee of $145 at the time of testing. 

Schedule your COVID-19 test through your local SEARHC clinic, or by calling the COVID Hotline at 907.966.8799

Testing will be administered via self-swab at each community’s respective alternate testing sites.  Test results will be available approximately seven (7) days after the test has been administered.  For more information, contact your local SEARHC clinic, or call the COVID-19 Hotline at 907.966.8799.

Testing Fact Sheets:

Abbott ID NOW EUA Letter
Abbott ID Now EUA Patient Fact Sheet
Abbott RealTime Assay EUA Patient Fact Sheet
Cepheid Xpert Xpress EUA Patient Fact Sheet

SEARHC set up established areas for COVID-19 testing in Sitka, Wrangell, Juneau, Klawock, and Haines. All other clinic locations are screening for COVID-19 in clinic parking lots. Screening sites keep patients with COVID-19 symptoms separated from the general emergency department patients.

Weekday tests at these locations are by referral only and will only be conducted for individuals who meet COVID-19 testing criteria. Please call your clinic for a referral or contact the SEARHC COVID-19 Hotline at 907.966.8799.

It is simple to connect and see your healthcare provider from anywhere with Telehealth Services. To see your provider virtually, all you need is a smartphone or a computer with a webcam and internet connection. Virtual appointments are available with SEARHC providers in Primary Care, Specialty Care, Behavioral Health, and Rehabilitation service lines.

  1. Contact your local clinic or provider to schedule appointments.
  2. Read the Informed Consent form for Telehealth Services. You may be requested to submit a signed copy before your first appointment.
  3. Follow these easy steps to check-in for your appointment at Doxy.me, a secure and private telehealth website.

If you don’t have health insurance, SEARHC’s Patient Health Benefits team is available to answer patient coverage questions. For assistance, please contact outreach@searhc.org or call 907.966.8662. PHB staff can assist patients in applying for immediate coverage, as well as provide guidance to apply for Medicaid or navigate the Affordable Care Act’s Health Insurance Marketplace.

SEARHC facilities are open to serve you with our full complement of service lines. Contact your local clinic to schedule an appointment in person, online, or by phone. Emergency services are open for any who need immediate care. COVID-19 screening measures are in place at all locations to ensure your safety. By following the CDC screening protocols and strict decontamination procedures, we are ensuring the safest possible clinical environment for patients.

SEARHC is prepared to care for and assist prenatal patients amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. For a list of patient questions and answers, please click here.

SEARHC has experienced providers and exceptional facilities across Southeast that are ready to provide high-quality care to your families now and throughout the coronavirus pandemic.

We are taking a number of active steps to ensure the safety of you and your family. Steps include pre-screening patients by phone or at the door for signs of COVID-19, making waiting areas social distance friendly, enhancing on-site disinfection, requiring face masking of patients and staff, and testing SEARHC employees.

SEARHC is closely monitoring information being provided by the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services  (ADHSS), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and other state, federal and global health organizations as they work to monitor, contain and mitigate the impact of the virus.  The CDC’s page on COVID-19 includes information for communities, schools, businesses and information on travel.

  • Practice social distancing, at least six feet away from people who are not in your household (in both indoor and outdoor settings).

  • Wear a mask in public, around people who do not live in your household or when social distance measures are difficult to maintain.

  • Frequently wash your hands with soap and water. Spend 20 seconds scrubbing with soap before rinsing your hands. If you do not have soap and water, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that is at least 60% alcohol.

  • Avoid touching your face, mouth, nose and eyes.

  • Routinely clean and disinfect regularly touched objects and surfaces. This can include phones, keyboards, doorknobs and toys.

  • Get your annual influenza vaccination.

  • If you begin to feel ill, contact your local SEARHC clinic, or call the COVID Hotline at 907.966.8799.

  • If you begin to feel ill, and you don’t have any underlying conditions, stay home. Once you no longer have a fever without the use of fever-reducing medicines, remain home for an additional 24-hours.

  • If you begin to feel ill and you do have underlying health conditions (heart disease, lung disease, diabetes, pregnancy, cancer, immune suppression), call your healthcare provider. Calling ahead to make an appointment before seeing a clinician will help the healthcare provider’s office take steps to keep other people from getting infected or exposed. When you call, make sure you tell the provider if you think you may have been exposed to COVID-19, either through travel or with a case of the disease.

If you have an emergency medical condition, please call 911 or your local emergency medical services number.

If you are having a health issue you do not know how to handle outside of normal clinic hours, call the free After-Hours Nurse Advice Line at 1.800.613.0560. Nurse Advice Line calls will be answered by non-local, registered triage nurses who will:

  • Provide a timely response to your questions.
  • Determine whether your health issue requires a call to your provider and if so, will contact your SEARHC provider.
  • Share advice on how to care for the problem yourself if home care is appropriate.
  • Connect you with emergency services if necessary.
  • Answer general health questions.
  • Forward a message to your local clinic after hours.

SEARHC’s free After-Hours Nurse Advice Line is not a substitute for medical attention. The registered nurses cannot provide diagnoses or treatment but can provide advice for something as simple as what over-the-counter remedy is appropriate for a cold symptom to something as complex as explaining a new medication.

Mangyaring tingnan ang mga kasagutan sa mga madadalas na tanong sa nakalakip na dokumento.

Abra el documento para leer las preguntas y respuestas de la comunidad sobre el COVID-19 aqui.

Make an Appointment

If you are concerned you might have contracted COVID-19, don’t panic, as the flu or another respiratory virus is still the most likely cause of your symptoms. Contact your healthcare provider for advice. If you choose to visit an emergency department, call ahead to alert staff of your COVID-19 concerns and request a mask be brought out to you prior to entering to reduce the risk of exposure.