LeConte ferry crew member tests positive for COVID-19

A blue ferry with a white cabin sits at dock next to a causeway
The Tazlina, Malaspina and LeConte moored in Juneau during a strike by the Inlandboatmen’s Union of the Pacific on July 25, 2019 (David Purdy/KTOO)

The Alaska Marine Highway System ferry LeConte’s run up Lynn Canal was canceled Sunday after a crew member tested positive for COVID-19. State transportation officials say the unnamed individual had finished a two-week shift on August 1 and began feeling ill after returning home to Juneau.

It’s not clear when the crew member went in for a test. But state Department of Transportation regional spokesman Sam Dapcevich says state transportation officials were notified on Saturday that a ferry worker had the coronavirus.

We tested the entire crew aboard the LeConte, 23 crew members, and all the test results came back negative,” he said Monday. “We also are testing the next crew that is supposed to start their rotation August 14. They will all be required to have a negative test result before reporting to duty.”

The LeConte’s crew wasn’t cleared until the early morning hours of Sunday. That led to the decision to postpone the sailing to Haines and Skagway until Wednesday.

With the amount of time it took to test everybody and, and keeping people up late into the night we didn’t want to run the boat the next morning with a tired crew,” Dapcevich said.

The LeConte is expected to resume sailings this week. It includes runs between Juneau, Pelican, Angoon, Kane and Lynn Canal communities later this week.

State public health officials say no close contacts were identified in Juneau or on the vessel. There are no specific testing or quarantine recommendations for passengers or crew at this time.

This story has been corrected to reflect that the LeConte’s sailings up Lynn Canal have been postponed until Wednesday.