5th Alaska seafood worker, 11th Lemon Creek prison staffer test positive for COVID-19

This scanning electron microscope image shows, in yellow, SARS-CoV-2 — the coronavirus that causes COVID-19 — isolated from a patient in the U.S., emerging from the surface of cells, in blue and pink, cultured in a lab. (Image courtesy of National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases – Rocky Mountain Laboratories)

A seafood worker has tested positive for the coronavirus, the fifth seafood industry worker to test positive in Alaska, according to the state’s Department of Health and Social Services.

In a news release, the department said the worker was still in quarantine in Anchorage. Under new state guidelines released Friday, people traveling to Alaska to work in a seafood processing plant have several options for quarantining, including staying in larger communities such as Anchorage or Juneau for two weeks prior to departing to their destination communities.

It is unclear why the person was in Anchorage at the time of the positive test, and DHSS did not answer phone calls or respond to an email request for more information before deadline. The case makes the 10th nonresident to test positive for the virus in Alaska.

The state also announced the 11th positive case of the coronavirus among staff members at Juneau’s Lemon Creek Correctional Center. Last week, the Alaska Department of Corrections announced that all inmates and staff would be tested for the virus. The Department of Health and Social Services said in a Sunday press release that the remainder of those results will be back “soon.”

Four new coronavirus cases were reported among Alaska residents on Sunday. Two of those cases were in Anchorage, one was the Lemon Creek staff member in Juneau, and the fourth was reported in Homer.

Correction: This story previously used older guidance about where and how fisheries workers can quarantine. It has been corrected to clarify that under guidance released by the state on Friday, nonresident fisheries workers at onshore processing plants may conduct a mid-travel quarantine in either Anchorage or Juneau prior to departing for their destination communities.


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