The state ferry M/V Tustumena

The state ferry M/V Tustumena

6 more Tustumena crew test positive for COVID-19

The 7 total employees will quarantine on the ship; all 6 passengers tested negative

Six more employees of the Alaska Marine Highway System aboard the M/V Tustumena have tested positive for COVID-19, the state ferry system announced in a Tuesday press release.

Added to the crew member who had tested positive on Saturday when the ship was docked in Dutch Harbor, this makes seven total crew members who are positive for the illness caused by the novel coronavirus. The 28 remaining crew members all tested negative.

After the original crew member tested positive on Saturday, 16 other employees on the Tustumena were identified as close contacts with that person. Six more employees have now tested positive. None of the six passengers who originally boarded the ship in Homer were identified as close contacts, and none of them ended up testing positive, the release states.

Forty people aboard the Tustumena were tested for COVID-19 by staff from South Peninsula Hospital, accompanied by Homer Public Health personnel, when the ferry docked back in Homer shortly after 7 p.m. on Monday night. There were 41 total people aboard, including the employee who was already confirmed positive.

That employee and the six additional positive crew members will quarantine for 14 days aboard the ship, the AMHS said in the press release.

“The positive crewmembers are being monitored and supported by medical professionals,” the release states.

All six passengers were able to leave the ship Monday night because they were able to secure private transportation home to quarantine. Some of the 28 crew members who tested negative were also able to leave, the release states.

“Out of an abundance of caution,” the AMHS is recommending anyone who was on the Tustumena spend the next 14 days wearing a face covering when in public, minimizing exposure to others by keeping a distance of at least 6 feet, self monitoring for symptoms twice a day and considering getting tested seven to 14 days after leaving the ship.

Some of the crew members who tested negative, however, are remaining aboard the Tustumena “to help support vessel operations,” the release states. Those employees are being kept separate from the seven crew members who tested positive, according to the release.

This incident began last Saturday when the original crew member was notified they were a close contact of someone else who was positive for COVID-19. The Tustumena then docked in Dutch Harbor and several passengers boarded for about an hour before they were asked to disembark.

When the original crew member tested positive for COVID-19 that evening, the decision was made to sail back to Homer, skipping all stops on the way, with that crew member, the passengers and most of the crew in quarantine aboard the boat.

Sailings of the Tustumena are slated to resume on Saturday, June 27, according to the press release.

“This will give time for the vessel to be thoroughly sanitized and staffed with crew,” the release states.

People with questions about reservations are encouraged to call 907-465-3941 or toll-free at 1-800-642-0066, or to visit www.FerryAlaska.com.

Reach Megan Pacer at mpacer@homernews.com.

Staff from South Peninsula Hospital and Homer Public Health prepare to board the M/V Tustumena to test 35 crew and six passengers after it docked at the Homer Ferry Terminal on Monday, June 8, 2020 in Homer, Alaska. The ship carried one crew member who tested positive for COVID-19 on Saturday in Dutch Harbor. Health workers tested people on board the ship when it arrived, and crew and passengers were only allowed to disembark if they had private transportation to their final quarantine destination. (Photo by Megan Pacer/Homer News)

Staff from South Peninsula Hospital and Homer Public Health prepare to board the M/V Tustumena to test 35 crew and six passengers after it docked at the Homer Ferry Terminal on Monday, June 8, 2020 in Homer, Alaska. The ship carried one crew member who tested positive for COVID-19 on Saturday in Dutch Harbor. Health workers tested people on board the ship when it arrived, and crew and passengers were only allowed to disembark if they had private transportation to their final quarantine destination. (Photo by Megan Pacer/Homer News)

More in News

A mock-up of an A-Frame property that would be located across the street from the Center for Alaskan Coastal Studies Wynn Nature Center and used by the Homer Forest Charter School shows places for classroom yurts, a dormitory and kitchen, a parking area with bus parking and staff housing. The configuration was presented Monday, Dec. 5, 2022, to the Kenai Peninsula Borough School Board of Education. (Via Homer Forest Charter School presentation to school board)
Efforts to open K-8 nature school in Homer delayed

Charter organizers proposed changing the school’s opening date from 2023 to 2024

Alaska Division of Elections Director Gail Fenumiai explains the ranked choice voting process as the results are tallied during an Alaska Public Media broadcast, Nov. 23, 2022, at her office in Juneau. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)
Elections division head to step down Friday

Fenumiai made the decision to retire in September, a division spokesperson said

COVID-19. (Image courtesy CDC)
COVID-19 cases continue to spike

Cases rise in Kenai Peninsula Borough for 3rd straight week

Gingerbread houses are displayed at the Kenai Chamber of Commerce and Visitor Center on Tuesday, Dec. 6, 2022. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)
Gingerbread houses rule

10th annual gingerbread house competition returns to Kenai Chamber of Commerce

Kinley Ferguson tells Santa Claus what she wants for Christmas during Christmas in the Park festivities on Saturday, Dec. 3, 2022, at Soldotna Creek Park in Soldotna, Alaska. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)
Christmas in the Park welcomes the holiday season to Soldotna

Santa headlines celebration with caroling, Nativity, cocoa and fireworks

Children decorate Christmas cookies, part of Christmas Comes to Nikiski festivities on Saturday, Dec. 3, 2022, at Nikiski Community Recreation Center in Nikiski, Alaska. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)
Christmas crafts and Santa photos

Nikiski holds start of annual December celebration

A Kenai Peninsula Food Bank truck in the Food Bank parking lot on Aug. 4, 2022, in Soldotna, Alaska (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)
Food Bank fundraiser to auction Legos, offer Santa photos to pets

Bark, Block n’ Bowl will take place on Saturday from 1 to 4 p.m.

Gov. Mike Dunleavy, seated left, and Lt. Gov. Nancy Dahlstrom sign their oaths of office during the inauguration ceremony, Monday, Dec. 5, 2022, in Anchorage, Alaska. Dunleavy, a Republican, last month became the first Alaska governor since Democrat Tony Knowles in 1998 to win back-to-back terms. (AP Photo/Mark Thiessen)
Dunleavy, Dahlstrom take oaths of office

Gov. Dunleavy was reelected during the Nov. 8 general election

Most Read