Grant Aviation Requiring All Staff To Test Negative For COVID-19 Before Entering Y-K Delta

Sep 8, 2020

A Grant Aviation airplane lands in Newtok on July 16, 2020, packed with food and supplies.
Credit Katie Basile / KYUK

Grant Aviation is now requiring all staff traveling from Anchorage to rural Alaska to have first tested negative for the coronavirus. The changes come after a Grant pilot tested positive for the virus in Bethel in August.

The new policy requires all staff traveling to Grant bases outside of Anchorage to be tested for COVID-19 and to receive a negative result within 72 hours of leaving Anchorage. All employees will again be tested within seven days of arriving at their work station. Grant has two of these stations in the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta: in Bethel and Emmonak.

The one exception to this rule concerns pilots who are moving an aircraft to or from Anchorage and immediately returning to Anchorage without interacting with other employees.

Many Grant workers live outside the region and travel into the area from elsewhere in Alaska for their shifts. Dan Knesek, Vice President of Operations for Grant, says that the company issued the new testing policy to employees Sept. 4, and it took effect Sept. 5.

Knesek says that the company worked for weeks to find a testing facility to conduct the quick tests and has formed an agreement with Capstone Clinic in Anchorage.

Grant also requires employees traveling to Alaska from outside the state to be tested.