Ketchikan officials announce two new cases of COVID-19, bringing local total to eight

This transmission electron microscope image shows the coronavirus that causes COVID-19. The virus was isolated from a patient in the U.S., emerging from the surface of cells cultured in the lab. (National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases – Rocky Mountain Laboratories)

Officials announced two new COVID-19 cases in Ketchikan in a statement  Tuesday bringing the local total to eight. The two new cases aren’t travel related, officials said.

Officials haven’t said whether the two cases were known to be in contact with previously known cases. 

“These two individuals, upon experiencing symptoms of illness, self-quarantined and sought testing through the Creekside Family Medical Clinic,” Ketchikan’s emergency operations center said in the statement. “The testing was processed by a private lab.”

The emergency operations center says the two patients are self-isolating as officials conduct a contact investigation.

“Public Health will notify and isolate additional persons as appropriate. 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 statement said. “Individuals who meet the criteria are being tested in accordance with CDC and State of Alaska priorities.”

Officials reiterated the importance of staying home given the exponential growth in coronavirus cases in Ketchikan. On Saturday, authorities strongly urged residents to “hunker down, shelter in place and stay home” to contain the spread of the virus.

“At the current rate of spread, Ketchikan could have over 400 positive cases of COVID-19 by the end of next week. If we all do our part, we can reduce that number dramatically and contain the spread,” the statement said.

The Ketchikan Gateway Borough is home to a little less than 14,000 people.

The two new infections are the first in Ketchikan since Saturday. Statewide, Alaska has 38 COVID-19 cases.