A cruise ship is docked in Seward, Alaska on Wednesday, May 25, 2022. (Camille Botello/Peninsula Clarion)

A cruise ship is docked in Seward, Alaska on Wednesday, May 25, 2022. (Camille Botello/Peninsula Clarion)

Cruise passengers encouraged to test before docking in Seward

The request comes as new COVID cases are increasing in Alaska

Seward city officials are highly encouraging cruise ship guests to test for COVID-19 in Anchorage before docking at the east peninsula town, according to a press release the City and Seward Community Health Center issued earlier this month.

The majority of guests need a negative antigen test within 48 hours of embarkation or negative PCR test within 72 hours, the release states, with some exceptions for unvaccinated children under 12 years old.

The request comes as new COVID cases are increasing in Alaska.

Dr. Louisa Castrodale, an epidemiologist with the state, said in a public science session Wednesday that both resident and out-of-state cases are bumping up, which will affect the COVID layout this summer.

“There are sizable numbers of people moving around this state, not just cruise passengers,” she said. “We’ve got land-based and other tourists and visitors coming in as well, so I guess we’re expecting those numbers to increase as we go throughout the summer.”

The state Department of Health and Social Services on Wednesday reported a total of 2,463 new COVID-19 cases from May 18-24.

The state also reported a total of 46 COVID-related hospitalizations in Alaska, with one patient on a ventilator.

Cases increased by 14% in Alaska from the week of May 11-17, according to the DHSS. Nationally, the 14-day change rate of newly reported COVID cases has increased by 40%, according to data from the New York Times.

Pre-travel testing can be done in Anchorage at the Egan Convention Center seven days of the week. The address for the center is 555 W. 5th Avenue, Anchorage. In addition, testing is available for the Norwegian Cruise Line every other Monday at the Egan Center.

Passengers preparing to embark on the Regent Cruise Line can test at the Marriott Hotel in downtown Anchorage every other Tuesday. The address for the Marriott is 820 W. 7th Avenue, Anchorage.

In Seward, a testing site is set up at the city’s cruise ship terminal on Fridays starting at 11 a.m. for Royal Caribbean Lines embarkation. Additionally, passengers aboard the Norwegian Cruise Lines and Regent guests can test every other Monday and Wednesday at the Seward Cruise Ship Terminal starting at 11 a.m.

For general information about cruises in Seward visit https://www.seward.com/plan-your-visit/cruise-guest-info/.

Reach reporter Camille Botello at camille.botello@peninsulaclarion.com.

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