Passenger on board the Alaska ferry Kennicott tests positive for COVID-19

The mainline ferry Kennicott pulls out of Whittier as fishermen watch in 2011. (Photo by Ed Schoenfeld/CoastAlaska)

A passenger traveling on the Kennicott ferry has tested positive for COVID-19. The Alaska Marine Highway system says the traveler tested negative before boarding the Kennicott in Bellingham on June 27.

After extensive contact tracing, the State Health and Social Services Department says the passenger only had close contact with one person on the journey – a traveling companion who shared private sleeping quarters. It says the two wore face coverings when outside their cabin and kept six feet away from others while onboard.

The department says it doesn’t know when the passenger became infected or became contagious. The two travelers stayed on board until arriving in Whittier, then re-boarded the Kennicott on July 3 for a new sailing to Cordova, where the passenger tested positive for COVID-19.

The passenger had mild “allergy-like” symptoms and did not think they were caused by COVID.

The infected passenger is not a resident of Alaska. Both travelers have been isolated and are not having physical contact with anyone else.

The Alaska Marine Highway System is now requiring testing before departures on lengthy sailings, as well as mandatory masks and social distancing.

It says this recent case is a good example of why it’s important to wear a mask and practice social distancing, because people can have a full range of symptoms — from being asymptomatic, to having only mild reactions.

KMXT - Kodiak

KMXT is our partner station in Kodiak KTOO collaborates with partners across the state to cover important news and to share stories with our audiences.

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