Passenger on Alaska ferry tests positive for COVID-19

Kennicott at Hubbard Glacier. (Photo by Geraldine Young, Alaska DOT&PF)

A passenger traveling on the Kennicott ferry tested positive for COVID-19 after disembarking in Cordova.

The Alaska Marine Highway System says the traveler initially tested negative before boarding the ferry in Bellingham, Wash., on June 27.

The passenger only had close contact with one person on the ferry – a traveling companion who shared private sleeping quarters, said a statement from the Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities. It says the two wore face coverings when outside their cabin and kept 6 feet away from others while onboard.

The department says it doesn’t know when the passenger became infected or became contagious. After getting on the ferry in Washington, the two travelers stayed on board until arriving in Whittier, then re-boarded the Kennicott on July 3 for a new sailing to Cordova, where the passenger tested positive for COVID-19.

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The passenger had mild “allergy-like” symptoms and did not think they were caused by COVID, the department said.

The infected passenger is not a resident of Alaska. Both travelers have been isolated and are not having physical contact with anyone else.

The state’s marine highway system is requiring testing before departures on lengthy sailings, as well as mandatory masks and social distancing.

The transportation department says this recent case is a good example of why it’s important to wear a mask and practice social distancing, because people can have a full range of symptoms — from being asymptomatic, to having only mild reactions.

RELATED: People entering Alaska by land and sea must follow the state’s travel policy. Here are the rules.