Unified Command Press Release: Positive case of COVID-19 confirmed in Dillingham; State of Alaska continues to work with communities and industries to prevent the spread of COVID-19

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Clinton Bennett, DHSS, (907) 269-4996, clinton.bennett@alaska.gov or Jeremy Zidek, UC, (907) 441-2337, jeremy.zidek@alaska.gov

Positive case of COVID-19 confirmed in Dillingham; State of Alaska continues to work with communities and industries to prevent the spread of COVID-19 

May 16, 2020 – A positive case of COVID-19 was announced today in an out-of-state individual who had recently arrived in Dillingham to work seasonally for Trident Seafoods.

The case was discovered yesterday when several workers quarantining in the same location were tested for COVID-19 at the end of their 14-day quarantine. Before workers can be released from quarantine, they need to meet all requirements outlined in the City of Dillingham ordinance including testing requirements.

Only one worker in the group tested positive; that person was immediately isolated from the others. Trident Seafoods is arranging transportation for the worker to leave Dillingham sometime today. Although the individual is doing well and does not require hospitalization, Trident determined it would be best to transport the individual out of the community out of an abundance of caution to help protect Bristol Bay communities.  

The remaining workers at the quarantine location tested negative. Because the entire group are considered close contacts to the case, they will now observe another 14-day quarantine to ensure the disease does not spread into the community. While in quarantine, all individuals will be monitored by local public health nurses and will not be able to leave quarantine or expose anyone outside the quarantine group. Before ending quarantine, they will need to satisfy the requirements of the City of Dillingham ordinance and, according to Trident, receive a minimum of two negative tests including one at the conclusion of their quarantine period.

Public health nurses have completed the contact investigation and report that no one at the quarantine location had any outside contacts. Dillingham Public Health Nurse Gina Carpenter said the workers arrived as a group, immediately traveled to their place of quarantine and have not had any contacts with anyone else since then. Groceries and any other necessities were delivered; no one left quarantine for any reason.

“They haven’t exposed the community because they haven’t been out in the community,” Carpenter said. “This shows the benefit of these rules. These workers did everything right and followed the quarantine and testing requirements laid out in Trident’s industry plan.”

Free testing is available to the community through a partnership between Public Health Nursing, Bristol Bay Area Health Corporation, the City of Dillingham and Capstone Clinic. Call your health care provider or the question line at the hospital, (907) 842-9440, to ask about testing if you are experiencing any symptoms. That number, provided by the Bristol Bay Area Health Corporation (BBAHC), is also available to support anyone in Dillingham who has questions or concerns. If you don’t have symptoms but still want to get tested, a new clinic is now set up near the boat harbor. Walk-in testing is available there.

Local, Tribal and state leaders and public health officials will be on KDLG today at 3 pm to discuss this news. Please tune in locally to 670 AM or 89.9 FM or visit their Facebook page (@kdlgradio) or website (www.kdlg.org).