A seafood worker quarantining in Anchorage and a staff member from Juneau’s Lemon Creek Correctional Center are among those to have tested positive for COVID-19, the state Department of Health and Social Services said Sunday.
There were two new cases disclosed Sunday in Anchorage and one each in Juneau and Homer, bringing the total number of cases statewide to 396. Only 52 of the cases are still considered active and 10 Alaskans have died from the virus.
The Juneau prison employee is the 11th staff member there to test positive. All staff members and inmates there were tested late last week, and the department said their results are due back soon. The city of Juneau said the staff member was in close contact with someone else who’d tested positive.
As of Friday, the Department of Corrections reported that 266 inmates had been tested for COVID-19 throughout the state. Thirteen of those tests results were pending.
The department has stopped all nonessential activity at all facilities and inmates were provided with masks. Across the country, high numbers of COVID-19 cases have spread quickly throughout prisons, where it is nearly impossible to social distance. There have been more than 25,000 inmates to contract COVID-19 nationwide, according to data collected by the nonprofit organization The Marshall Project. More than 370 inmates have died after contracting the virus.
The department of health also noted that a seafood worker from Outside tested positive for COVID-19 while quarantining in Anchorage. This is the fifth nonresident seafood worker to test positive for the virus. It wasn’t immediately clear which company the latest seafood worker was employed by or where in Alaska they were to be working.
The state released guidelines for seafood workers traveling amid the pandemic on Friday. In other states, outbreaks at food processing plants have resulted in large numbers of cases and even deaths from the virus.
The new guidelines require seafood industry workers to quarantine for 14 days either before travel to Alaska, once they’ve reached the state or once they’ve reached their destination community. Guidelines also call for them to be tested in order to stop the spread of the virus.
In total, 10 nonresidents have tested positive for COVID-19, including the five seafood workers, two visitors, two airline workers and one mining industry worker, the health department said.
[Because of a high volume of comments requiring moderation, we are temporarily disabling comments on many of our articles so editors can focus on the coronavirus crisis and other coverage. We invite you to write a letter to the editor or reach out directly if you’d like to communicate with us about a particular article. Thanks.]
• • •