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Alaska Built One of the Most Comprehensive Covid-19 Testing Operations in U.S. – The Wall Street Journal


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Alaska Built One of the Most Comprehensive Covid-19 Testing Operations in U.S. – The Wall Street Journal

The U.S. State Department contacted Alaska Gov. Mike Dunleavy’s office in late January, warning that it was evacuating 201 Americans out of Wuhan, China, on a flight that was going to make a brief stopover at Anchorage’s main airport. “Something’s not right here,” Mr. Dunleavy says he thought at the time. He and his staff…

The U.S. State Department contacted Alaska Gov. Mike Dunleavy’s office in late January, warning that it was evacuating 201 Americans out of Wuhan, China, on a flight that was going to make a brief stopover at Anchorage’s main airport.

“Something’s not right here,” Mr. Dunleavy says he thought at the time. He and his staff quickly realized that the coronavirus outbreak in China was bigger than they had realized.

The last comparable pandemic, the 1918 Spanish Flu, had devastated the state’s Native American population, and Mr. Dunleavy wanted to make sure that didn’t happen again. “We stood up our disaster team,” he says.

As the coronavirus pandemic surged across the U.S. this spring, Alaska faced a raft of unique obstacles. Despite the hurdles, Alaska was able to carry out what proved to be a robust testing program.

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During the summer surge of cases, Alaska was testing more people per capita than any other state in the U.S., according to Worldometers. It currently ranks No. 2, behind Rhode Island, and has the nation’s lowest Covid-19 deaths per capita. While there have been a few outbreaks at fish-packing plants, Alaska has largely avoided the surge of positive cases and deaths many other states faced this summer.

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