To reduce the introduction of SARS-CoV-2 virus infections, the state of Alaska implemented a program on June 6, 2020, for arriving air, sea, and road travelers that required either molecular testing for beta coronavirus that causes COVID-19 or a 14-day self-quarantine after arrival.
The Alaska Department of Health and Social Services requested ten participating Alaska airports evaluate air traveler choices to undergo testing or self-quarantine, traveler test results, and airport personnel experiences while implementing the program.
Among 386,435 air travelers who arrived in Alaska during June 6–November 14, 2020, a total of 184,438 (48%) chose to be tested within 72 hours before arrival, 111,370 (29%) chose to be tested on arrival, and 39,685 (10%) chose to self-quarantine without testing after arrival.
An additional 15,112 persons received testing at airport testing sites; these were primarily travelers obtaining a second test 7–14 days after arrival, per state guidance.
Of the 126,482 airport tests performed in Alaska, 951 (0.8%) results were positive, or (1) per 406 arriving travelers.
The U.S. CDC confirmed on April 22, 2021, 'airport testing program administrators reported that clear communication, preparation, and organization were vital for operational success; challenges included managing travelers’ expectations and ensuring that sufficient personnel and physical space were available to conduct SARS-CoV-2 virus testing.
And, 'post-travel self-quarantine and testing programs might reduce travel-associated SARS-CoV-2 transmission and importation, even without enforcement,' says the CDC.