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One of Alaska’s largest private COVID-19 testing providers plans to close public testing sites in the state by the end of June.

Matt Jones, director of Capstone’s non-clinical operations, told the Anchorage Daily News that the decision taken by the Capstone stone clinic was based primarily on financial matters.

Jones said it started with a sudden move by the federal government earlier this year to no longer bear the cost of COVID-19 tests or treatments for those without health insurance. He said the low test size in recent weeks has raised financial concerns.

He said that at a time when there was an increase in cases being driven by the Omicron variant, the company was conducting 3,000 tests per day. As of June, this number is close to 200 or 250 tests per day.

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“We are excited to provide testing to the public as long as we can, we can not do this to the detriment of our own company,” Jones said.

Alaska Private Kovid-19 testing facilities will close at the end of the month.

Alaska Private Kovid-19 testing facilities will close at the end of the month.

Capstone’s public testing sites include Anchorage, Vasilla, Eagle River, Juno, Kechicon and Fairbanks.

Jones said there has been a widespread, nationwide shift from mass clinic-based PCR testing to home testing, which health officials say is considered less sensitive than molecular-based testing, but is still accurate when used correctly.

At the height of the epidemic, Capstone operated 21 testing and vaccination sites in Alaska. In some communities, this is the sole provider.

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On Wednesday, the state Department of Health reported a 35% increase in COVID-19 hospitalization compared to the previous week.

Clinton Bennett, a department spokeswoman, said in an email to the Associated Press that the test was “important and available statewide.” He cited the convenience of over-the-counter testing and said that many industries have incorporated testing into their operations.

Yet some community testing sites are hosted by other companies or run privately, Bennett said.

The city of Juneau said Thursday it has received another shipment of federal-funded rapid self-examination, making it available to residents for free.

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