COVID Testers At Lake Otis In Anchorage Put Themselves On The Line For Others

The Lines At the Lake Otis Testing Sites Are Much Longer Than A Week & A Half Ago  Exhausted COVID tester at Lake Otis. Wednesday, Octob...

The Lines At the Lake Otis Testing Sites Are Much Longer Than A Week & A Half Ago 

Exhausted COVID tester at Lake Otis. Wednesday, October 7th. (Photo, Country Journal)


Reflecting a large increase in positive COVID cases statewide, and in Anchorage, the testing line at Lake Otis is typically 5 and 6 times longer than when this story was written in late September – and much longer than in early October, several days before. 

The number of cars lined up on any given afternoon to get into the Lake Otis coronavirus testing site fluctuates. Sometimes there are only a couple of dozen cars, waiting along the side road.

Sometimes – as was true on Tuesday afternoon, September 29th, the line snakes up the road.  That day, dozens and dozens of cars – and even one marked commercial delivery van – patiently waited for a COVID-19 test, some of them for over an hour. 

Health worker leans in to take a COVID-test at Lake Otis site September 29th. (Photo, Copper River Country Journal)

They were waiting to enter a large open parking lot, with canopies and workers, at the corner in Lake Otis. It's a COVID-19 testing site, and it's been there for months, near Tudor Road.  The workers wear flimsy blue outerwear that flaps in the breeze as they approach the many cars that slowly idle, drifting  through the parking lot. These people, in these vehicles, are the residents of Anchorage who are most likely, by their own understanding, to be seriously ill with coronavirus. The workers insert long testing swabs into the noses of those who have come – and take a test.

Anchorage has had 4,517 known cases of COVID-19, with 35 deaths. Not surprisingly, this is more than half of all cases and deaths in the entire state, which has clocked in at 8,602 cases and 52 total deaths. 

Of course, Lake Otis isn't the only place in Anchorage you can get tested. It's just one of the most visible. For months, the workers in their distinctive, obviously non-protective blue outfits have moved from one possibly sick person to another, trying to help. They lean into the cars, as the winds of spring, summer and autumn buffet them around, out in the open. 

Lake Otis testing spot. (Photo, Country Journal)

Update: October 2nd. By Friday, several days after this story was first written, the 4 pm line at the Lake Otis Drive COVID-19 outdoor testing point was at least six times longer. Perhaps this was caused by anxiety and awareness in the wake of the discovery that the President of the United States and many others in the White House had all contracted the virus. But perhaps it is a reflection of the rise in coronavirus cases in the state.

It doesn't seem easy – to be either the helper or the helped, in this difficult time. Just working in medical care is dangerous for your health. Recently, the state reported that 260 Alaska health care workers have tested positive for the disease. Nationally. between mid-February and mid-July over 100,000 health care workers had COVID, says the federal government.

What you have to do to get tested at this particular site. 

The Anchorage Office Of Emergency Management Writes The Following About The Lake Otis Testing Site:

Due to the high demand for COVID-19 testing services, the Lake Otis testing site is experiencing large volumes of people requesting a test and wait times may be long.  We ask people to be patient when going to the site until the new process can be fully implemented, and not go to the site before 11:00am.

People needing a test can do the following things to reduce wait times at the site:

1.     Pre-register for testing at  There are many travel questions on the form, the boxes to choose are detailed below.

a.      If you are having symptoms of COVID-19, check box #3a

b.     If you need a test to return to work check box #3a

c.      If you are a traveler with a travel voucher visiting Alaska, fill out the form based on your situation.

d.     It is recommended that each adult receiving a test register separately with a unique email address, adding minor children to the bottom of the account.

e.      If you need help, someone will be there to help at the site

2.     DO NOT USE THIS SITE FOR TESTING BEFORE A MEDICAL PROCEDURE.  If your physician has sent you to the site, please call them for a different referral

3.     If you are a referring physician, call 907-212-5815 for procedural information to access the following test sites for pre-op testing:

a.      Providence Laboratory Services: 3425 E. Tudor Road; Monday–Friday 6 a.m.–4:30 p.m.; Fax: 907-212-3632

b.     Providence Health Park: 3841 Piper Street, Suite T211 (Tower S at Providence Alaska Medical Center Campus); Monday–Friday 7 a.m.–6 p.m.; Saturday 7 a.m.-3 p.m.; Fax: 907-212-3632

c.      Providence Medical Group: 1389 Huffman Park, Monday–Friday 8:30 a.m.–5:30 p.m. (Closed for lunch 12:30 p.m.-1:30 p.m.) Fax: 907-212-3632

The Municipality requests people needing a test pre-register at and not go to the site before 11:00am.  People who can receive a test at the Lake Otis testing site include those with symptoms of COVID-19, those who need a test to return to work and those with a travel voucher.  A provider referral is not needed to receive a test. Vouchers issued by the State of Alaska are accepted at the site.

The hours of the test site at 4115 Lake Otis Parkway are 11:00am-6:00pm Monday thru Friday, and 11:00am-3:00pm Saturday and Sunday.


To access the COVID-19 test site, pre-register for testing at Please DO NOT go to the site before 11:00am.

Wednesday, September 30, 2020. Copper River Country Journal


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