Now hiring: ‘COVID greeter’ for the Southeast community of Wrangell

A white trailer is parked outside that says "Wrangell Fire Department" and SEARHC.
While community COVID-19 testing used to take place at the airport, it’s now run from SEARHC’s testing trailer from 12-4 p.m. Monday through Saturday. (Sage Smiley/KSTK)

In late September, Wrangell’s community COVID-19 test site moved from the airport to the hospital, a little over a mile away. But Wrangell’s local government mandates testing for unvaccinated people arriving in the Southeast community.

So the emergency operations center is looking to hire a greeter to help air passengers find their way to the testing site, plus to tell travelers about local mandates and where to access to COVID-19 vaccines.

The greeter would report to the local emergency operations manager and could provide information at the ferry terminal, harbors or other locations where people might be arriving, said Borough Manager Lisa Von Bargen.

And there could be more than one greeter working at a time, said Von Bargen.

“Likely this will be more than one person because you can’t have coverage (of) both flights seven days a week with just one person,” Von Bargen said. “So it may be two or three different people that are serving this need at different times.”

RELATED: September was Alaska’s deadliest month of the COVID pandemic, state data shows

Wrangell’s assembly approved the greeter position, with Jim DeBord as the only ‘no’ vote. DeBord did not explain his opposition.

The job will earn the same hourly wage as a city clerical position, just over $15 per hour. The position does not include benefits.

Von Bargen said the city will pay for the positions through an unspent $125,000 grant from the state meant to help boost local COVID-19 testing and vaccinations.

The greeter job is expected to last through at least the end of the year, when Wrangell’s testing mandates are slated to expire. Unless renewed, the state’s contract for cost-free COVID testing for incoming travelers will expire then as well.

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