With six new cases in one day, Angoon goes into lockdown

A white sign on a wall says "Trash isn't traditional/Keep Angoon beautiful)
Testing began immediately following the announcement of the six new cases in Angoon on Wednesday. Residents are being asked to “hunker down and minimize all contact with other households” until test results are back. (Becky Meiers/KCAW)

The City of Angoon is going into lockdown, after six more positive cases of coronavirus were confirmed in the community Wednesday.

The news comes just a day after reports of Angoon’s first confirmed positive.

The new cases take Angoon’s total to eight, prompting Mayor Joshua Bowen to issue an emergency order requiring all travelers to the community to self-quarantine for two weeks on arrival. The order also requires anyone who has tested positive for the virus to self-quarantine for two weeks, as must anyone who was notified by contact tracers that they were in close contact with a confirmed positive case.

Read more stories on how the coronavirus is affecting rural Alaska

The only exemptions to Angoon’s emergency order are travelers classified by the state as providing essential services or critical workforce infrastructure.

Community-wide testing began immediately on the announcement of the six new cases. Angoon’s 500 residents are being asked to limit their contact with other households until they’ve got their test results.

Meanwhile, in the nearby community of Kake, similar strict measures to contain an outbreak there seem to have paid off.

In an emergency meeting of the Kake City Council Wednesday afternoon, Lloyd Davis reported that the last four people who tested positive on Saturday, August 15, had completed a 10-day isolation, and were no longer considered active cases. Kake, which experienced a total of 11 positives, now is effectively virus-free.

“As of today, we don’t have any active positive cases,” said Davis.

Davis urged fellow council members to maintain the community’s travel restrictions, and to not schedule large gatherings or events.

“We need to get it out to the community there that we need to keep it as tight as we can there, for the sake of our school,” he said.

Davis said that remote education was proving tough, and he wanted to avoid the shutdown of schools that Angoon was now facing.