This undated file photo provided by U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows CDC’s laboratory test kit for the new coronavirus. (CDC via AP, File)

This undated file photo provided by U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows CDC’s laboratory test kit for the new coronavirus. (CDC via AP, File)

More positive for COVID in Seward as testing expands

The city conducted more than 300 tests for COVID-19 over the weekend.

The state reported 12 more COVID-19 cases in Seward — two on Sunday and 10 on Monday — after the city announced last week an outbreak of the disease. The city of Seward also issued a press release Monday night identifying six more cases, which means 23 active cases have been identified in Seward since Thursday.

The six cases reported by the city of Seward Monday night were not reflected in the state’s Monday case count and will be included in Tuesday’s statewide update. Public health defines an outbreak as two or more cases.

The Seward Community Health Center and Glacier Family Medicine conducted more than 300 tests for COVID-19 over the weekend, according to a Sunday release from the city. Most of the tests performed by Glacier Family medicine have yielded negative results, the city said Monday.

The COVID-19 testing targets people who visited either the Seward Alehouse or the Yukon Bar between Sunday, June 21 and Tuesday, June 23. The businesses were identified by public health officials as possible exposure sites.

Several Seward businesses opted to temporarily close their doors on Friday in response to the outbreak, including the Seward Alehouse, the Yukon Bar, Seward Brewing Company, the Cookery, the Tufted Puffin, Tony’s Bar and the Lone Chicharron.

On Monday, the Seward Chamber of Commerce announced that all Independence Day events scheduled for July 4 in the city would be canceled. The cancellation includes fireworks and vendors downtown, in addition to the previous decisions to cancel the Mount Marathon Race and the July 4 parade.

The Boys of Girls Club of the Kenai Peninsula also announced Monday that it would be closing the doors of its Seward Clubhouse until July 3 in response to the outbreak, and will evaluate reopening at the end of the week.

Two of the cases identified Monday are staff members at SeaView Community Services, a social services organization in Seward. The staff members are quarantined and are working with Alaska Public Health to determine if any other staff, vendors or clients may have been exposed, the organization said in a release Monday.

“SeaView is working diligently with appropriate public health officials to minimize the impact of exposure while continuing to provide essential behavioral health services to our community. We continue to execute deliberate precautions to ensure we mitigate COVID-19 transmission in Seward,” Chris Sheehan, chief executive officer at SeaView said in the release.

COVID-19 testing is currently available in Seward at Providence Seward Medical Center, Seward Community Health Center and Glacier Family Medicine.

The Seward Community Health Center will continue to provide targeted testing until July 2, from 10 a.m.-12 p.m. and 1-2 p.m. People experiencing symptoms should call 907-224-2273 before arriving.

Glacier Family Medicine is providing testing to anyone interested until June 2 by appointment only. Call 907-224-8733 for more information.

The City of Seward strongly encourages residents to adhere to health guidelines issued by Alaska’s DHSS and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which include: Wearing a face covering; Practicing good hygiene; Staying at least 6 feet away from nonhousehold members; Staying home and contacting a health care provider when sick; and keeping your social circle small.

Reach reporter Brian Mazurek at bmazurek@peninsulaclarion.com.

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