This scanning electron microscope image shows SARS-CoV-2 (orange)—also known as 2019-nCoV, the virus that causes COVID-19—isolated from a patient in the U.S., emerging from the surface of cells (gray) cultured in the lab. (Courtesy National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases – Rocky Mountain Laboratories)

Ketchikan-area officials are urging residents to “hunker down and shelter in place” after announcing three new coronavirus cases Saturday afternoon. That brings Ketchikan’s total to six cases.

State authorities reported new coronavirus cases in Anchorage, Fairbanks, Sterling and Soldotna Saturday evening, bringing the known statewide case tally to 21.

In a news release, the joint emergency operations center says all three new cases are close contacts of previously identified cases.

And now the mayor of Saxman, along with Ketchikan’s city and borough mayors are “strongly urging the citizens of Ketchikan to hunker down, shelter in place, and stay home, in order to contain the spread of COVID-19.”

They’re also urging non-essential businesses to close. The release notes that emergency services and grocery stores will remain open.

Officials worry that the number of COVID-19 cases in Ketchikan is growing exponentially, according to the release.

“If the growth continues at the current rate, by the end of the week Ketchikan could have over 20 positive cases of COVID-19 in the community,” the release said. “We need to stop the spread now.”

A health mandate issued Friday by state authorities also restricts gatherings of more than 10 people in the Ketchikan Gateway Borough.