Adak under lockdown after finding first case of COVID-19

The city of Adak. (Photo by Zachariah Hughes/Alaska Public Media)

The westernmost community in the U.S. is under lockdown after an arriving visitor tested positive Saturday for the coronavirus.

Adak’s mandatory stay-at-home order and the closure of all-but-essential businesses went into effect Saturday evening. It’s expected to be lifted on Tuesday.

The visitor is the first confirmed case of COVID-19 in the community of about 100 people, according to Adak City Manager Layton Lockett.

“Hopefully, it’s just a traveler that can stay isolated,” Lockett said on Monday. “This is truly a test of our travel restrictions. Are the mandates working? What do we need to do to adapt those? How this goes will dictate whether we will need more restrictions or whether we can continue to have the same program we’ve had in place.”

Under the lockdown order, Lockett said all residents must stay home unless “performing duties related to immediate public health and safety,” in order to allow state health officials to conduct full contact tracing and determine the level of risk of community transmission.

“We don’t expect that there was significant community transmission,” Lockett said. “But again, until [public health officials] can finish their contact tracing, we won’t know for sure. So that’s the reason we’re asking for people to stay at home, pretend like it’s a really bad storm coming through and try to keep everyone safe by staying indoors and not interacting with folks outside their household.”

The city also ordered all businesses to remain closed — with the exception of those necessary for public health and safety — until the order expires.

The Adak City Council passed an ordinance last month to continue restrictions on travel into the community through at least Jan. 26, 2021. All travelers must make arrangements to take a COVID-19 test at the Adak Medical Clinic within 24 hours after arrival, regardless of whether a test was taken as part of the state’s Health Order 8.

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