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King Cove Confirms First Local Case Of COVID-19 In Seafood Industry Worker

Berett Wilber/KUCB


The Alaska Peninsula village of King Cove has confirmed its first local case of COVID-19 in a seafood worker who tested positive for the virus Monday.

Henry Mack, mayor of the 900-person town, said the individual is an employee at the huge Peter Pan Seafoods plant. The worker was immediately isolated and placed in quarantine in company facilities after receiving a positive test result, Mack said. 

"I was told that one of the employees that came up to process salmon came up on Saturday on the charter [flight] from Seattle," Mack said Monday. "And apparently they had symptoms either this morning or yesterday and got tested today with positive COVID-19."

Eastern Aleutian Tribes, the regional tribal healthcare provider, is working closely with state health officials, the seafood company, and the City of King Cove to protect anyone who may have been in close contact with the sick employee.

Mack said Peter Pan Seafoods has a state-approved mitigation plan in place that officials are following "to a T." Despite the company's diligence, he remains anxious, he said. 

"I think everybody should be concerned of COVID-19 everywhere, anywhere you live. How many people have you seen in the news show up at a processing plant that has been quarantined someplace for two weeks? And lo and behold, here you get a case," said Mack. 

How the individual contracted the virus is under investigation. 

The employee is not a resident of Alaska, and will therefore be listed separately from the state's total case count. The individual joins 45 other people from out-of-state who have tested positive for the virus in Alaska. 

Hope McKenney is a public radio news director, reporter, producer and host based in the Aleutian Islands, Alaska.
Hailing from Southwest Washington, Maggie moved to Unalaska in 2019. She's dabbled in independent print journalism in Oregon and completed her Master of Arts in English Studies at Western Washington University — where she also taught Rhetoric and Composition courses.
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