Alaska has another record-high COVID-19 count with dozens of cases among seafood workers

Workers remove the bones from salmon fillets at Alaska Glacier Seafoods’ Auke Bay processing plant (David Purdy/KTOO)

Alaska reported a record 119 new COVID-19 cases on Sunday, including 36 nonresident seafood workers in the Aleutians West Census Area, according to state data

The outbreak was on the American Triumph seafood processing vessel, which is operated by American Seafoods in Seattle.

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Another cluster based at a seafood processor in Juneau of 26 cases was reported Saturday, according to the city of Juneau, though only two cases were reported in Juneau in the state’s numbers. 

The 26 cases resulted from mass testing after an outbreak at Alaska Glacier Seafoods in Juneau last week. While 113 tests were conducted, the city said that not all of the test results returned. According to Juneau’s Emergency Operations Section Chief Robert Barr, the number of test results remaining is estimated to be from 10 to 15. 

The cases also included 82 resident cases, the second-highest number of residents to test positive in a day.  

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Anchorage continues to lead the state in the number of cases, with 36 resident cases reported there and four more cases in Eagle River. But the Yukon-Koyukok Census Area, which has a population of approximately 5,230, had 10 new cases. That put the area at the top of the average case count over the last week, with an average of 15.8 cases per 100,000 residents.  

Projected case trend on July 19, 2020 (Screenshot from Alaska Department of Health and Social Services Coronavirus dashboard)

Fairbanks North Star Borough had nine, and Wasilla had seven, Juneau had four, and other smaller communities making up the rest of the new cases.

And another person was hospitalized as physicians warn that that number is likely to rise in the coming weeks and experts warn that cities could reach hospital capacity sooner than anticipated under current trends. That brings the total number of Alaskans currently hospitalized with COVID-19 to 27, only one of whom is on a ventilator. 

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While Anchorage has had the bulk of the new cases, Fairbanks has a higher case rate based on population size over the last two weeks, with an average of 9.38 cases per 100,000 people. The Kenai Peninsula Borough, which had seven new cases yesterday, is even higher, with 9.79 cases per 100,000 people.

A previous version of this story mislabeled the Yukon-Koyukuk Census Area.

This story also misstated the total number of cases. The total number of cases was 119.