An out-of-state resident working in Craig has tested positive for COVID-19. That’s according to a release from Craig’s emergency operations center. Officials in the Prince of Wales Island community say the individual was tested in Ketchikan “over the weekend” after arriving from the Lower 48.
There’s been some confusion as the COVID-19 case was initially reported by Ketchikan officials. But the person is actually an out-of-state worker employed in Craig.
An updated statement from Ketchikan officials clarifies that the individual was tested after landing in Ketchikan. The results came back positive when the person had already arrived in Craig.
That might seem like a violation of an order to quarantine pending test results. But officials in both communities say that getting tested and continuing on to your final destination is, in fact, exactly what you’re supposed to do.
Here’s Brian Templin, Craig’s city planner.
“They don’t require that you quarantine in the location that you first land at if it’s not your final destination,” he said.
“So what they’re doing is they’re testing people at that first entry point as they come into the state of Alaska. But particularly in cases of hub communities, they are not requiring that you stay in that community,” Templin continued. “They’re allowing you to travel on to your final destination and expect that you would quarantine at your final destination until you receive your test results.”
Officials have not identified the age, gender or what industry the person is working in. The individual is reportedly self-isolating in Craig.
Craig has now seen three positive cases of COVD-19. But Templin says it’s unlikely that shelter-in-place orders will return for now.
Here in Ketchikan, emergency manager Abner Hoage says his expectations are similar if another case emerges in town. Testing capacity has increased dramatically here in Ketchikan — more than 10 percent of the population has been tested, and testing is available to anyone with symptoms and many without. Ketchikan’s hospital has outlined plans for surge capacity.
“The whole purpose of everything we’ve done is to get back to a point where we can reopen and that’s what we plan to continue to do — unless we see it going so steep that we start to get to a point where we’re concerned about overwhelming our healthcare system,” Hoage told KRBD Wednesday.
And to keep from having to roll back the reopening, Hoage says it’s important to continue to take precautions: Residents should keep their social circles small, avoid large gatherings, and wear a cloth mask to protect others.
“If I happen to have this, I don’t want to pass it on to the person sitting next to me who’s grandma’s at their house, and they’re going to go home and be around her and she’s immunocompromised and then she gets sick,” Hoage said.
Craig’s Brian Templin echoed those suggestions.
More than 590 Alaskans have contracted COVID-19, and at least 11 have died from the disease.
Today’s news also adjusts Ketchikan’s cumulative case count to 16, where it’s stood since April 20.