COVID-19. (CDC)

COVID-19. (CDC)

Nonresident COVID-19 cases nearly double; 8 residents test positive

Seventeen of the 18 new nonresident cases are workers in the seafood industry.

Eight additional Alaska residents and 18 nonresidents tested positive for COVID-19 Wednesday, bringing the total number of resident cases to 513 and nearly doubling the state’s nonresident case count to 41.

Seventeen of the 18 new nonresident cases are workers in the seafood industry, according to a Thursday press release from Alaska’s Department of Health and Social Services.

“These cases underscore the importance of following proper quarantine procedures, screening workers, testing multiple times and following the procedures outlined in workforce protection plan,” Alaska’s Chief Medical Officer Dr. Anne Zink said in the release.

“These actions help keep our communities safe, but all Alaskans should continue to maintain social distancing and keep social circles small. We can’t underscore that enough. The more mixing occurs, the more we will continue to see these outbreaks.”

Ten of the cases of COVID-positive seafood workers are located in the Valdez-Cordova Census Area. Three cases are in the Aleutians West Census Area. Two are in the Kenai Peninsula Borough. One is in the Municipality of Anchorage and one is in the Kodiak Island Borough.

The other new nonresident case is a worker in an unspecified industry in the Sitka City and Borough.

All three cases in the Aleutians West Census Area are in the seafood industry in Unalaska and were asymptomatic and in quarantine at the time of testing.

All 10 of the cases in the Valdez-Cordova Census Area are located in Whittier. The City of Whittier and Whittier Seafoods are working in coordination with DHSS to respond to the cluster of cases. The workers were quarantined on the employer’s campus, screened daily and tested when they arrived in Whittier, according to the release. One worker tested positive, which prompted additional testing to identify the other positive cases and track close contacts.

All of the workers are now isolated and are being monitored and receiving appropriate medical care.

The Whittier Clinic is currently offering testing daily to members of the community. The clinic is open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, and people can get tested at the clinic regardless of symptoms.

The Whittier cases were initially reported on the state’s Coronavirus Response Hub as Kenai Peninsula Borough cases. The hub will reflect the correct information by Friday’s update, according to the release.

Of the eight new resident cases, four are from Anchorage, one is from Homer, one is from Soldotna, one is from Big Lake and one is from Anchor Point.

Demographic information is not available for the nonresident cases, but of the eight new resident cases, five are male and three are female. One is under the age of 10, two are between 20-29, one is between 30-39, two are between 50-59, one is between 60-69, and one is 80 or older.

One new hospitalization was reported Thursday, bringing the number of people who are currently hospitalized to 13. This includes people who are COVID-positive and people who are still under investigation.

No new deaths were reported Thursday. That number still stands at 10.

Three additional residents have recovered from the disease as of Thursday, bringing that total to 376.

127 cases are currently active.

For the latest information regarding the state’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic, visit covid19.alaska.gov or email covidquestions@alaska.gov.

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