PeaceHealth Ketchikan Medical Center on Dec. 22, 2020. (Eric Stone/KRBD)

Hospital authorities in Ketchikan say five long-term care patients and one caregiver have tested positive for COVID-19. A PeaceHealth Ketchikan Medical Center spokesperson says the hospital was notified of the first positive result on Tuesday, and all six cases are considered active.

A written statement from the hospital’s long term care administrator, Hill Pettus, says all six people have had at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine and were mildly symptomatic. The administrator added that none of the patients in the long-term care facility required higher levels of care.

The hospital says the five patients in the 21-resident long-term care unit for people with ongoing medical needs, have since been isolated. The long-term care unit is temporarily closed to visitors. The hospital says it continues to follow health guidelines, provide personal protective equipment and test all admitted patients.

PeaceHealth spokesperson Kate Govaars says the hospital does not require caregivers to be vaccinated against COVID-19. She says hospital officials “strongly encourage” vaccination and “hope instances like this remind people why vaccination is important and effective.”

Experts say fully vaccinated people who contract COVID-19 tend to experience milder symptoms. They are also much less likely to require hospitalization, and deaths are rare. More information is available at

Local authorities in Ketchikan  recently disbanded the local emergency operations center, which provided information about COVID-19 in Ketchikan. But state health officials reported that as of Wednesday afternoon there were at least 16 active cases in the Ketchikan area.

This story has been updated.