Trident Seafoods officials responding to the outbreak of the COVID-19 virus at their remote shoreside processing facility at Akutan, in the Aleutian Chain, say their daily positive virus test results are ebbing. Since the company learned of the virus outbreak on Jan. 17 a total of 307 of 706 employees originally on-site tested positive for COVID-19. All employees have remained in quarantine, but as a precaution, Trident has chartered flights to move those employees at high risk including individuals over the age of 60 and those with underlying health conditions, from the island campus. They are quarantining in Anchorage, where additional medical support is available as needed.
Trident’s Akutan plant has more than 1,400 employees there during peak season. The plant operates year-round, with a multi-species frozen seafood operation capable of processing as much as three million pounds of raw fish daily. While the primary focus of the plant is wild Alaska Pollock, seafood workers there also process significant amounts of Pacific cod, Alaska king and snow crab, halibut and other species.
Meanwhile Trident has been utilizing its facilities at St. Paul, Kodiak and Sand Point and the M/V Independence to keep operations moving.
Stefanie Moreland, vice president of government relations at Trident, said that the daily positive rate had dropped significantly, an indication that response protocols are working. Moreland said that Trident had bolstered its onsite medical staff, was conducting twice-daily wellness checks, mass testing and rapid response to new positive cases.
The company is also working on plans for employees who have completed their quarantine to return to work. For those employees wishing to leave, the company has arranged quarantine accommodations, meals, wellness monitoring and testing in accordance with state mandates in preparation for their travel home.
Trident CEO Joe Bundrant expressed the company’s appreciation for support and guidance from state health officials, the city of Akutan, the city of Unalaska and regional medical providers, as well as Eastern Aleutian Tribes and the Iliuliuk Clinic in Unalaska.