Ketchikan has third positive COVID-19 test, increasing state total to 13

This scanning electron microscope image shows SARS-CoV-2 (in yellow) — the coronavirus that causes COVID-19 — isolated from a patient in the U.S., emerging from the surface of cells (in blue/pink) cultured in a lab. (National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases – Rocky Mountain Laboratories)

Ketchikan now has its third confirmed case of coronavirus, in a person who was a close contact of the Southeast city’s first case.

That’s according to media release from the Ketchikan Emergency Operations Center sent midday Friday.

This most recent case adds to two others in Ketchikan that have been reported by the state this week, increasing the total number of known coronavirus cases in Alaska to 13.

“Upon experiencing symptoms of illness, the individual self-isolated and sought testing through the PeaceHealth Medical Center emergency room,” the release said. “This individual was a close contact of the first identified positive case in Ketchikan. The individual is an employee of the Ketchikan Gateway Borough and works at the White Cliff Building.”

Ketchikan officials closed the borough’s offices in the White Cliff Building on Tuesday following news that Ketchikan’s first positive case worked in the building. 

“The building has been thoroughly cleaned, sanitized, and disinfected with a commercial disinfectant service,” the release said. 

Officials said the building will remain closed until April 1. Ketchikan Public Health is conducting an investigation to determine who came into contact with the third case, according to the release.

“Through the contact investigation, Public Health will direct testing of persons that meet criteria based on contact with any confirmed case of COVID-19,” the release said.

Glenn Brown, Ketchikan’s borough attorney and a KRBD board member, was the area’s first confirmed case. He self-identified on Facebook Tuesday evening. On Thursday afternoon, Ketchikan emergency operations center officials said the second case was Brown’s spouse.

As of midday Friday, there are three confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Southeast Alaska.