Mandates in effect for incoming travelers to Alaska

Infection toll rises to 524 residents, 43 nonresidents

Revised travel mandates go into effect at 12:01 a.m. on Saturday, June 6, requiring all people entering Alaska to complete a traveler declaration form and provide proof of having tested negative to COVID-19 within the last 72 hours.

Those unable to present proof of a negative COVID-19 PCR test will be asked to take that test upon arrival and self-quarantine while awaiting test results, or self-quarantine for 14 days or the duration of their trip, whichever is shorter.  Those entering the state on business will be expected to follow the work plan that their employer filed with the state.

The mandate also restricts travel to communities on the road system or marine highway system, with travel to remote communities limited to essential travel only.

All newly arrived individuals are also being asked to wear a face mask indoors and whenever social distancing becomes challenging to practice and wash hands frequently.

Complete details for travelers are online at https://covid19.alaska.gov/travelers/

As the Alaska economy continued to slowly reopen, the number of new COVID-19 cases was back in double digits.

State health officials on Friday, June 5, identified 11 new cases, with four in Anchorage, two in Eagle River, two in Homer, and one each in Anchor Point, Nikiski and the Kenai Peninsula Borough, bringing the statewide caseload to 524, with 380 recovered. The total number hospitalized since the virus began spreading in Alaska is 48 and the death toll remains at 10. The number of nonresidents infected is 43, most of them seafood industry workers.

One of the Alaska cases announced on June 5 is an Alaska resident who tested positive in Kotzebue but does not live in that community. The social services entity Maniilaq Association, in Kotzebue, said that their public health nurses are doing contact tracing to determine whom the individual may have been in contact with since arriving in Kotzebue.

Concerns continue over keeping the virus at bay as commercial fisheries for salmon open up in Alaska, including Cordova and Bristol Bay.

The state health department’s database shows that through June 5 the majority of infections have been identified in the municipality of Anchorage, a total of 264, with 190 recovered, 23 hospitalized and 70 still active. 

Seafood industry workers found to be infected in coastal Alaska were still in quarantine at the time they tested positive. In the city of Whittier, 11 seafood processor workers who tested  positive this week at Whittier Seafoods have been transported to Anchorage, where they are being monitored.

In Washington state, meanwhile, American Seafoods officials said that 25 crewmembers on two different fishing vessels tested positive for COVID-19, in the wake of a virus outbreak among 85 of 126 crewmembers aboard American Seafoods’ factory vessel American Dynasty reported this past week.

The Northern Jaeger and the American Triumph were anchored in Bellingham and expected to depart for their home port in Seattle. There were four positives on the Triumph and 21 on the Northern Jaeger.  Each of the vessels has a crew of over 110 people.

“We will make sure those crewmembers in quarantine receive proper medical attention, housing, meals and other essential care, and help them stay in contact with their families,” said Mikel Durham, the company’s chief executive officer.

Only crew members who tested negative were allowed to go to sea on all three vessels, under mandates American Seafoods incorporated in working with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, state and local health agencies, and other public health specialists.