This transmission electron microscope image shows SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, isolated from a patient in the U.S. Virus particles (round gold objects) are shown emerging from the surface of cells cultured in the lab. The spikes on the outer edge of the virus particles give coronaviruses their name, crown-like. (Photo: National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases – Rocky Mountain Laboratories)

Coronavirus activity in the First City remains relatively low with three active cases in Ketchikan. Local officials announced two new positives on Tuesday. The source of those infections is under investigation. A non-resident traveler tested positive on Monday.

As of Tuesday afternoon, state data shows Ketchikan’s cases as the only active COVID-19 infections in southern Southeast Alaska, including Prince of Wales Island, Meyers Chuck, Metlakatla and Hyder.

Ketchikan’s local- and state-issued pandemic alert levels remain low — a stark contrast to other areas of the state. This week, the state announced a record high of 194 residents receiving positive test results on Sunday. The state’s 14-day average case rate and the 7-day test positivity rate are also at record highs. Those metrics measure the prevalence of the coronavirus at a statewide level.

State health officials said Sunday, and repeated Monday and Tuesday, “Alaska’s overall alert level continues to be high and is trending up.”

But Alaska’s COVID-19 death rate remains the lowest in the nation among the 50 states, according to the Centers for Disease Control.

Here in Ketchikan, students have been back in classrooms five days a week since Labor Day, with masks, temperature checks and other safety measures in place. A month into the school year, those precautions appear to be paying dividends — the school district hasn’t seen a COVID-19 infection since a Ketchikan Charter School staff member tested positive in late August, just before students returned to classes.

A total of 72 people have tested positive for the coronavirus in Ketchikan. A dozen of those were travelers that continued on to other destinations. All but three of the remaining 60 cases have recovered.

So far, no deaths of Ketchikan residents have been attributed to COVID-19.