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COVID FAQs

Find answers to questions about COVID-19. Information is provided from the Centers for Disease Control, DHSS Alaska, and other experts.

COVID FAQs

Find answers to questions about COVID-19. Information is provided from the Centers for Disease Control, DHSS Alaska, and other experts.

Dr. Anne Zink, Alaska’s chief medical officer and an emergency room physician, answers some frequently asked questions about COVID-19 safety in the following video clips.

Alaska COVID-19 Testing

COVID Case Decline

COVID-19 Safety Importance

Flu Shot Importance

Why Masks Matter

The following information is the latest from both the Centers for Disease Control and State of Alaska Department of Health and Social Services.

COVID FAQs

The only way to truly know is to get tested. There is a wide range of symptoms that may or may not appear 2-14 days after exposure to the virus. Symptoms include, but is not limited to:

  • Fever or chills
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • Fatigue
  • Muscle or body aches
  • Headache
  • New loss of taste or smell
  • Sore throat
  • Congestion or runny nose
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Diarrhea

If you are showing any of these symptoms, get emergency medical care IMMEDIATELY:

  • Trouble breathing
  • Persistent pain or pressure in chest
  • New confusion
  • Inability to wake or stay awake
  • Bluish lips or face

Influenza (Flu) and COVID-19 are both contagious respiratory illnesses, but they are caused by different viruses. They share many of the same symptoms, but COVID-19 appears to spread more easily and causes more serious illnesses in some people.

Because some of the symptoms are similar, people may seek emergency medical care thinking they have COVID-19 when they actually have the flu. It’s important to not overload our emergency rooms, reserving that care only those who need it.

Healthcare providers encourage everyone who can get a flu shot to do so.

  • Wear a mask that covers your nose and mouth to help protect yourself and others.
    • Choose a mask with two or more layers of washable, breathable fabric that fits snugly against the sides of your face.
  • Who should NOT use masks: Children under age 2 or anyone who has trouble breathing, is unconscious, or is incapacitated or otherwise unable to remove the mask without assistance.
    • Avoid indoor spaces as much as possible, particularly ones that aren’t well ventilated.
    • You may find it harder to stay 6 feet apart in indoor spaces

In general, the more people you interact with, the more closely you interact with them, and the longer that interaction, the higher your risk of getting and spreading COVID-19.

  • If you decide to engage in public activities, continue to protect yourself by practicing everyday preventive actions.
  • How many people will you interact with?
  • Can you keep 6 feet of space between you and others?
  • Will you be outdoors or indoors?
  • What’s the length of time that you will be interacting with people?

Keep these items on hand and use them when venturing out: a mask, tissues, and a hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol, if possible.

If possible, avoid others who are not wearing masks or ask others around you to wear masks.

  • People of any age can get COVID-19, even healthy young adults and children.
  • People who are older or have certain underlying medical conditions are at higher risk of getting very sick from COVID-19.
  • Cancer
  • Chronic kidney disease
  • COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease)
  • Heart conditions, such as heart failure, coronary artery disease, or cardiomyopathies
  • Immunocompromised state (weakened immune system) from solid organ transplant
  • Obesity (body mass index [BMI] of 30 kg/m2 or higher but < 40 kg/m2)
  • Severe Obesity (BMI ≥ 40 kg/m2)
  • Pregnancy
  • Sickle cell disease
  • Smoking
  • Type 2 diabetes mellitus

Based on what we know at this time, adults of any age with the following conditions might be at an increased risk for severe illness from the virus that causes COVID-19:

  • Asthma (moderate-to-severe)
  • Cerebrovascular disease (affects blood vessels and blood supply to the brain)
  • Cystic fibrosis
  • Hypertension or high blood pressure
  • Immunocompromised state (weakened immune system) from blood or bone marrow transplant, immune deficiencies, HIV, use of corticosteroids, or use of other immune weakening medicines
  • Neurologic conditions, such as dementia
  • Liver disease
  • Pulmonary fibrosis (having damaged or scarred lung tissues)
  • Thalassemia (a type of blood disorder)
  • Type 1 diabetes mellitus
  • Continue your medicines and do not change your treatment plan without talking to your healthcare provider.
  • Have at least a 30-day supply of prescription and non-prescription medicines. Talk to a healthcare provider, insurer, and pharmacist about getting an extra supply (i.e., more than 30 days) of prescription medicines, if possible, to reduce your trips to the pharmacy.
  • Do not delay getting emergency care for your underlying medical condition because of COVID-19. Emergency departments have contingency infection prevention plans to protect you from getting COVID-19 if you need care.
  • Call your healthcare provider if you have any concerns about your underlying medical conditions or if you get sick and think that you may have COVID-19. If you need emergency help, call 911 right away.

Please see the Alaska Department of Health and Social Service’s testing site locator map:

https://coronavirus-response-alaska-dhss.hub.arcgis.com/app/2d92b77bc8044329a1ee3954b063bd8c

Alaska travel information

To stop COVID-19, including new strains of virus, from coming into Alaska, the state encourages all travelers to test 72 hours prior to arrival. Until recently, Alaskans and tourists who arrived without a prior negative test had to pay $250 to be tested at the airport. Anchorage International Airport now offers free COVID-19 testing for those who did not test before entering Alaska.

Travelers are encouraged to physical distance until they receive their negative test results. A second test 5-14 days after arrival is also recommended if the traveler is not fully vaccinated. Travel declarations for those arriving to the state may be completed online through the Alaska Travel Portal at www.alaska.covidsecureapp.com.

As of Jan 26, 2021, the CDC requires international travelers to show proof of a negative test from within the last 72 hours on arrival back in the US.The state still recommends following the COVID safety protocols of wearing masks, physical distancing, hand washing and keeping gatherings small.

The only way to truly know is to get tested. There is a wide range of symptoms that may or may not appear 2-14 days after exposure to the virus. Symptoms include, but is not limited to:

  • Fever or chills
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • Fatigue
  • Muscle or body aches
  • Headache
  • New loss of taste or smell
  • Sore throat
  • Congestion or runny nose
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Diarrhea

If you are showing any of these symptoms, get emergency medical care IMMEDIATELY:

  • Trouble breathing
  • Persistent pain or pressure in chest
  • New confusion
  • Inability to wake or stay awake
  • Bluish lips or face

Influenza (Flu) and COVID-19 are both contagious respiratory illnesses, but they are caused by different viruses. They share many of the same symptoms, but COVID-19 appears to spread more easily and causes more serious illnesses in some people.

Because some of the symptoms are similar, people may seek emergency medical care thinking they have COVID-19 when they actually have the flu. It’s important to not overload our emergency rooms, reserving that care only those who need it.

Healthcare providers encourage everyone who can get a flu shot to do so.

  • Wear a mask that covers your nose and mouth to help protect yourself and others.
    • Choose a mask with two or more layers of washable, breathable fabric that fits snugly against the sides of your face.
  • Who should NOT use masks: Children under age 2 or anyone who has trouble breathing, is unconscious, or is incapacitated or otherwise unable to remove the mask without assistance.
    • Avoid indoor spaces as much as possible, particularly ones that are not well ventilated.
    • You may find it harder to stay 6 feet apart in indoor spaces

In general, the more people you interact with, the more closely you interact with them, and the longer that interaction, the higher your risk of getting and spreading COVID-19.

  • If you decide to engage in public activities, continue to protect yourself by practicing everyday preventive actions.
  • How many people will you interact with?
  • Can you keep 6 feet of space between you and others?
  • Will you be outdoors or indoors?
  • What’s the length of time that you will be interacting with people?

Keep these items on hand and use them when venturing out: a mask, tissues, and a hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol, if possible.

If possible, avoid others who are not wearing masks or ask others around you to wear masks.

  • People of any age can get COVID-19, even healthy young adults and children.
  • People who are older or have certain underlying medical conditions are at higher risk of getting very sick from COVID-19. These medical conditions include:
    • Cancer
    • Chronic kidney disease
    • COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease)
    • Heart conditions, such as heart failure, coronary artery disease, or cardiomyopathies
    • Immunocompromised state (weakened immune system) from solid organ transplant
    • Obesity (body mass index [BMI] of 30 kg/m2 or higher but < 40 kg/m2)
    • Severe Obesity (BMI ≥ 40 kg/m2)
    • Pregnancy
    • Sickle cell disease
    • Smoking
    • Type 2 diabetes mellitus

Based on what we know at this time, adults of any age with the following conditions might be at an increased risk for severe illness from the virus that causes COVID-19:

  • Asthma (moderate-to-severe)
  • Cerebrovascular disease (affects blood vessels and blood supply to the brain)
  • Cystic fibrosis
  • Hypertension or high blood pressure
  • Immunocompromised state (weakened immune system) from blood or bone marrow transplant, immune deficiencies, HIV, use of corticosteroids, or use of other immune weakening medicines
  • Neurologic conditions, such as dementia
  • Liver disease
  • Pulmonary fibrosis (having damaged or scarred lung tissues)
  • Thalassemia (a type of blood disorder)
  • Type 1 diabetes mellitus
  • Continue your medicines and do not change your treatment plan without talking to your healthcare provider.
  • Have at least a 30-day supply of prescription and non-prescription medicines. Talk to a healthcare provider, insurer, and pharmacist about getting an extra supply (i.e., more than 30 days) of prescription medicines, if possible, to reduce your trips to the pharmacy.
  • Do not delay getting emergency care for your underlying medical condition because of COVID-19. Emergency departments have contingency infection prevention plans to protect you from getting COVID-19 if you need care.
  • Call your healthcare provider if you have any concerns about your underlying medical conditions or if you get sick and think that you may have COVID-19. If you need emergency help, call 911 right away.

Please see the Alaska Department of Health and Social Service’s testing site locator map:

https://coronavirus-response-alaska-dhss.hub.arcgis.com/app/2d92b77bc8044329a1ee3954b063bd8c

Alaska travel information

To stop COVID-19, including new strains of virus, from coming into Alaska, the state encourages all travelers to test 72 hours prior to arrival. Until recently, Alaskans and tourists who arrived without a prior negative test had to pay $250 to be tested at the airport. Anchorage International Airport now offers free COVID-19 testing for those who did not test before entering Alaska.

Travelers are encouraged to physical distance until they receive their negative test results. A second test 5-14 days after arrival is also recommended if the traveler is not fully vaccinated. Travel declarations for those arriving to the state may be completed online through the Alaska Travel Portal at www.alaska.covidsecureapp.com.

As of Jan 26, 2021, the CDC requires international travelers to show proof of a negative test from within the last 72 hours on arrival back in the US.The state still recommends following the COVID safety protocols of wearing masks, physical distancing, hand washing and keeping gatherings small.

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