Athletes returning from Juneau tournament spark COVID outbreak in Kake

Kake's high school
Kake’s high school photographed in 2010 (Division of Community and Regional Affairs’ community photo library.)

Kake is now experiencing one of its biggest outbreaks of COVID-19 since the beginning of the pandemic, with 32 active cases reported as of March 11.

Kake city schools have moved to remote learning through at least the end of this week.

The outbreak started after Kake High School basketball teams traveled with family and fans to Juneau for the small schools regional basketball tournament on March 2-5 at Thunder Mountain High School, where community members are suspected of catching the virus.

Thunder Mountain’s activities director, Luke Adams, told KCAW that masks were mandatory for spectators and non-playing team members but optional for players on the court.

In a call with KCAW, Kake superintendent, Rich Catahay said the teams — as well as accompanying fans and family members — followed masking protocol and were diligent about testing before and after the tournament. Catahay says the city made sure to report the positive cases to the Alaska School Activities Association.

The city is offering antigen tests to those who believe they’ve been exposed or are experiencing symptoms, as well as preventive measures for the elderly and immunocompromised.

The next booster and children’s vaccine clinic will take place April 1.

Alaska School Activities Association basketball director Isaiah Vreeman said in an email that the association was unaware of the outbreak, but that since the state 1A tournament was more than 10 days away, “this might not be an issue.”

The state 1A/2A tournament will be held March 16-19 in Anchorage at the Alaska Airlines Center and the UAA Seawolf Sports complex.

KCAW - Sitka

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