Eight new cases of COVID-19 reported in five Alaska communities; 18 nonresident cases identified

June 4, 2020 ANCHORAGE — The Alaska Department of Health and Social Services (DHSS) today announced eight new cases of COVID-19 in five communities: Anchorage (4), Homer (1), Soldotna (1), Big Lake (1) and Anchor Point (1). This brings the total number of Alaska cases to 513.

In addition to the Alaska cases, 18 nonresident cases were identified yesterday, 17 of which are in the seafood industry. Eleven are in the Valdez-Cordova Census Area; three are in the Aleutians West Census Area; one is in the Kenai Peninsula Borough; one is in the Municipality of Anchorage; one is in Kodiak Island Borough; and one “other industry” case is in the Sitka City and Borough. This brings the total nonresident cases, which are listed separately from the Alaska cases, to 41.

All three of the Aleutians West Census Area cases are in the seafood industry in Unalaska. The asymptomatic workers were in quarantine at the time of testing and tested according to their employer’s workforce protection plan.

The eleven cases in the Valdez-Cordova Census Area are in seafood workers in Whittier. The City of Whittier and Whittier Seafoods are both working together and in coordination with DHSS to respond to the cluster of cases. After arriving in Whittier, the workers were quarantined, screened daily and tested. When one worker tested positive, additional testing was immediately initiated to identify the other positive cases and track close contacts. All individuals are now isolated, being monitored and receiving appropriate medical care. The workers have been quarantined on their employer’s campus since arriving in Whittier. The Whittier Clinic is offering testing daily to community members. The clinic is open Monday-Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and individuals do not need to have symptoms to be eligible for testing.

Please note the Whittier cases were initially reported on the data dashboard as Kenai Peninsula Borough cases. Those cases will be corrected to the Valdez-Cordova Census Area with the next update.

“These cases underscore the importance of following proper quarantine procedures, screening workers, testing multiple times and following the procedures outlined in workforce protection plans,” said Dr. Anne Zink. “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.”

Of the new Alaska cases, five are male and three are female. One is under the age of 10; two are aged 20-29; one is aged 30-39; two are aged 50-59; one is aged 60-69; and one is 80 or older. There have been a total of 48 hospitalizations and 10 deaths with one new hospitalization and no new deaths reported yesterday. Recovered cases now total 376, with three new recovered cases recorded yesterday. A total of 60,097 tests have been conducted.

This report reflects data from 12:00 a.m. until 11:59 p.m. on June 3 that posted at noon today on the Alaska Coronavirus Response Hub. Also note that upon further investigation and interviews, data points for cases – such as the date and residence – may on occasion change on the data dashboard after they are announced.

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