COVID-19 Worries Mount as Processors Brace for More Salmon Openers

One new death and 11 new cases of COVID-19 in six communities reported by state health officials on Tuesday, June 9, boosted Alaska’s total number of resident cases to 573 and the statewide death toll to 11. The addition of two new nonresident cases, both of them seafood industry workers, meanwhile brought the number of nonresident cases to 49.

One of the nonresident cases is in the Aleutians East Borough and the other in the combined Bristol Bay and Lake and Peninsula boroughs. Another case previously reported as an Alaska resident in the Kenai Peninsula Borough has been reclassified as a nonresident case in the wake of follow-up interviews.

The Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities said that six additional Alaska Marine Highway employees aboard the M/V Tustumena tested positive for COVID-19. Another AMHS employee tested positive at Dutch Harbor when the M/V Tustumena arrived there earlier this week. The vessel made the return trip to Homer with several passengers and the crew aboard and six more members of the crew tested positive for the virus in Homer.

The Tustumena is now scheduled to return to service on June 27.

Those test results are to be added to other all test positive cases reported by seafood processors. So far all positive tests were detected while the individuals were still in quarantine and not at work in the seafood plants. While the state of Alaska has lifted its required 14-day quarantine for everyone coming to Alaska, putting in place a requirement for travelers to get tested before boarding a plane to Alaska, several coastal communities still have the 14-day quarantine in place, with testing to be done while quarantining.