This National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases micrograph shows the coronavirus that causes COVID-19 in green. (NIAID image)

Ketchikan emergency officials are sounding the alarm about growing numbers of COVID-19 cases in the community. Local officials raised Ketchikan’s community risk level to “high” Tuesday evening, the second-highest level. They’re urging residents to stay home as much as possible, limit their interactions and wear a mask when outside the home.

At least 21 cases have been reported in 48 hours, officials say. Ketchikan’s pandemic dashboard shows that more than 70% of the past week’s 31 cases were not in quarantine when they tested positive. Officials also say there’s also been an uptick in community spread cases.

More than a third of the past week’s cases were staff or students at Ketchikan High School. The high school will be closed through at least Friday, and after-school activities canceled until at least Monday.

Emergency officials recommend cutting other schools’ capacity to 50%. But as of early Tuesday evening, school district officials had not announced closures or capacity reductions at any other district schools.

The change in risk level means Ketchikan’s borough-operated rec center will limit capacity and cancel some programs. Ketchikan’s bus system is asking riders to take only essential trips and leave early, since bus capacity will be limited to no more than 15 riders.

Local emergency officials also say businesses should encourage telework when possible, bars should close and indoor gatherings should be limited to a maximum of 20 people.

“The EOC and School District urge all families take the school closure and increased community risk level seriously,” reads a statement from Ketchikan’s emergency operations center. “In order to reduce the community risk level and end the school year healthy, we have to be diligent in following the recommendations for health and safety precautions.”

More information on Ketchikan’s COVID-19 risk level is available on the borough’s dashboard.