COVID-19 outbreaks among seafood workers help push Alaska’s one-day case count to new record high

Seattle-based American Seafoods
A total of 85 of the 119 crew members aboard the American Triumph have tested positive for COVID-19. Photographed in Dutch Harbor on Friday, July 17, 2020. (Hope McKenney/KUCB)

COVID-19 outbreaks among seafood workers on a fishing vessel headed for Seward and at a Juneau fish processor have helped push Alaska’s one-day case count to yet another new high.

State health officials on Monday announced another 141 people have tested positive for the virus, 75 of them are Alaskans and 66 are nonresidents. The state reported one new hospitalization and no new deaths. 

It’s Alaska’s highest one-day case increase yet, and the second day in a row that the state has reported more than 100 new infections.

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Dozens of the new cases in Monday’s tally are tied to two clusters of cases announced by local officials over the weekend. (The state’s daily case count is generally based on infections reported the day before.)

The Monday report includes about 40 infections among out-of-state workers aboard the American Triumph, a huge factory fishing vessel that was docked in Unalaska and is now headed for Seward. In total, 85 of the crew members have tested positive, local health authorities said Sunday.

RELATED: A fishing boat docked in Dutch Harbor with 85 COVID-19 cases. Now it’s headed for Seward.

Also, the state is reporting 21 cases among out-of-state seafood workers at the Juneau fish processor Alaska Glacier Seafoods. City officials in Juneau confirmed those are 21 of the 26 cases that they had reported on Sunday. In total, there have been 35 cases at the fish processor.

The other cases reported on Monday include 52 Municipality of Anchorage residents — the highest one-day increase yet for the area. The surge follows dire warnings from city officials on Friday that Anchorage could exceed its ICU bed capacity in as little as 10 weeks.

Also, over the past several days, at least three local restaurants and a bar have announced infections and temporary closures.

Glacier Brewhouse said Monday that an employee had tested positive for COVID-19. It’s closing while its entire staff gets tested, and while the restaurant gets professionally sanitized. Also downtown, Ginger announced Saturday that someone who was in the restaurant the prior night had tested positive for the virus. The restaurant is closed until Wednesday. 907 Alehouse & Grill said Monday that it will remain closed for the rest of the week after an employee tested positive.

The Crossroads Lounge says it’s closed “until we are assured that all parties are safe.”

On Friday, city health officials also announced a COVID-19 exposure at F Street Station from July 10.

The other COVID-19 cases counted Monday include an out-of-state seafood worker in Seward and two out-of-state workers in Valdez. There were also cases among seven Fairbanks residents, five Wasilla residents and six Kenai Peninsula residents.

According to state data, the percent of COVID-19 tests coming back positive also continues to rise. By Monday, the average percent of positive tests over the past three days had reached 2.5%.

The number of active COVID-19 cases among Alaskans and nonresidents in the state is now 1,563, and the number who have recovered from the disease since March totals 833.