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Letter to the editor

Testing, 1, 2, 3

To the editor: I recently went to Anchorage for medical attention that was not available in Fairbanks. Before my treatment I was required to be tested for COVID. The hospital sent me to a strip mall in the Cabela’s parking lot, where I received a 15-minute drive-thru test. I have asked several doctors here in Fairbanks why that kind of test was available in Anchorage and in Delta and a number of other places in the state but not in Fairbanks. All three doctors here indicated that those “fast” tests were not accurate, suggesting that we here in Fairbanks were lucky to have the slower tests because they were more reliable.

Interestingly, the surgeon who did my procedure in Anchorage said that those “quick” tests were “very” accurate and he had complete confidence in them. This indicates to me that even among doctors, there is a strong tendency to use the answer that makes them feel better, rather than the one that makes the most sense or is more logical. When testing is required for entry or participation in the workforce or for receiving medical attention or traveling, the availability of a same-day test rather than a three-day test reduces the impact of that requirement by several magnitudes. It has been suggested to me that the federal money for testing, including the quick tests, has been available in Fairbanks for several months but has been held back politically.

On a related note, I asked the editorial staff about a month ago why the total number of test given was not a part of the daily diatribe on “new cases” that is front page every day. To their credit, almost immediately, they began publishing that number in every article that extends beyond the front page. It is usually in the last paragraph and is never on the front page. We are over 500,000 tests now. I doubt that anything in our state’s history has ever been tested so thoroughly. Just some things to think about.




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