The Inter-Island Ferry Authority’s Stikine sails through Ketchikan’s Tongass Narrows. (Ed Schoenfeld/CoastAlaska News)

Inter-Island Ferry Authority managers said Tuesday that three crew members have tested positive for COVID-19. IFA General Manager Ron Curtis declined to say exactly when the staff members tested positive, citing ferry authority policy.

Curtis says ferries between Ketchikan and Prince of Wales Island will continue their regular schedule. He says additional crew have been called into cover for the workers sidelined by COVID-19.

Curtis says the IFA has cooperated with contact tracing led by the state public health department. He says the three crew members first noticed symptoms on their days off, and that two of them are in the same household.

State health authorities reported a total of 11 new cases of COVID-19 on Prince of Wales Island Monday and Tuesday, including four in Craig and seven in other communities. Officials do not release the names of communities of fewer than 1,000 people out of privacy concerns.

In an unrelated development, state officials reported Prince of Wales Island’s second death tied to COVID-19 last month. Local, state and federal health officials say COVID-19 vaccines are the single most effective tool to prevent serious cases of COVID-19.

The Centers for Disease Control already requires masks to be worn on ferries. It is also recommending vaccinated and unvaccinated people wear masks in indoor spaces in areas with “substantial” or “high” levels of COVID-19 spread. Areas of Southeast Alaska where the CDC now recommends masking include Ketchikan, Wrangell, Petersburg, Juneau, Sitka and Skagway, according to a map posted on the CDC’s website.