What to Expect When Traveling to Nome Based on City Requirements
The City of Nome continues to ask travelers coming from the Anchorage airport to practice quarantining to slow the spread of COVID-19. However with more people becoming fully vaccinated or having recovered from COVID-19, there are more options and sometimes more confusion than before.
Before getting on a plane, all travelers coming into Nome from Anchorage should fill out an online form on NSHC’s website. The health corporation has hired a representative to assist passengers at the Ted Stevens Airport while they wait to board their flight. On that form, travelers will select the options that apply to them based off their recent COVID-19 history and learn what quarantine options are available to them.
They’ll also consent to abiding by those restrictions when they electronically sign the form.
When passengers disembark their Alaska Airlines flight in Nome, most will shuffle into an insulated tent provided by the Norton Sound Health Corporation to take a COVID-19 rapid test.
Someone like City of Nome Emergency Services Technician Rose Reale will be standing outside the terminal to greet travelers to help people understand what the quarantine options are.
If I’m a person [who is] not fully-vaccinated and I’ve never had COVID and I’m coming into Nome, what should I do?– KNOM reporter
[We] Definitely still want you to get tested [on the] first day, and I believe we’re still wanting you to quarantine for seven days and hopefully you’ll get that negative test on your seventh day.– Rose Reale
According to Nome’s emergency order, travelers who are not vaccinated with both doses and who have never had COVID-19 are asked to quarantine for seven days. They are expected to receive a rapid test upon landing at the Nome airport and another negative rapid test on the eighth day.
But now, many people coming to Nome have recently had COVID-19 and recovered within the last 90 days. The testing process is different for those people, explained Reale.
“If they’ve had it within 90 days they won’t test because they will come up positive.”
According to the City Manager Glenn Steckman, anyone who has had COVID-19 within the last 90 days is not required to quarantine upon arrival in Nome either. That’s the recommended policy as per CDC guidelines.
Again, the quarantine process is a lot easier and faster for those that have received the full two doses of the COVID-19 vaccine. As an EMT, Reale has had both doses now and looks forward to safely traveling to see family in the upcoming weeks.
“I will still test when I get back and I will not be required to quarantine.”
Quarantine is not required for vaccinated people who receive negative COVID-19 test results when they arrive in Nome.
Anyone who does not wish to do any COVID-19 testing at all in Nome is required to self-quarantine for 14 days regardless of whether they are vaccinated or not.
Anyone traveling from Nome to a regional village should check with that community’s quarantine policies for slowing the spread of COVID-19. Most communities have some type of testing and quarantine requirement for visitors or residents returning home.
Image at top: City of Nome Emergency Services Technician Rose Reale awaiting new travelers into Nome. Photo by Emily Hofstaedter, KNOM.
I’m really glad to see information being spread on how being fully vaccinated affects our travel status. It would be great if you’d take it one step further and let people know that they need BOTH shots to be protected, and that even then it’s still 95% – not 100%. And that that protection doesn’t take place until at least two weeks after the second shot.
AND that even if you are fully vaccinated that you still need to wear masks and follow other guidelines because they think it’s still possible we can carry and spread the virus, even if we’re protected from it. I’m concerned that some people think that once they are vaccinated that they can dispense with masks.
Thanks for your public service!!!