Ketchikan officials warn of potential ‘wide community spread’ of COVID-19 after traveler broke quarantine

Mission Street in Ketchikan. (Creative Commons photo by Bill Price III)

Ketchikan’s local emergency officials are concerned about recent social gatherings where at least one COVID-19 infected visitor made several appearances.

Officials put out a statement saying anyone who attended Ketchikan area parties and gatherings between Saturday and Tuesday could have come in contact with the individual — who has not been named — who tested positive on Tuesday.

Get the latest coverage of the coronavirus in Alaska

“Because this individual did not quarantine after arrival to Ketchikan as directed, there is potential of a wide community spread of COVID-19,” the statement reads.

The traveler reportedly arrived Saturday evening, but violated the state’s health mandate requiring visitors to quarantine pending test results. Ketchikan police are investigating.

Officials ask anyone who went to a party with recent travelers or where social distancing was not observed to consider self-quarantining for two weeks.

City officials are taking extra precautions. Ketchikan Public Utilities’ customer service office is closed. And “multiple city department heads and employees” are now working from home after potentially being exposed to the virus.