A passenger aboard the M/V Kennicott who tested negative before departing from Bellingham on June 27 tested positive for COVID-19 upon arrival in Cordova on July 3, officials with the Alaska Marine Highway System confirmed on Sunday, July 5.
The passenger was identified as a nonresident in the Valdez-Cordova census area by the state Department of Health and Social Services. Both the passenger and their traveling companion are now isolated and not in contact with anyone else.
The passenger and traveling companion had private sleeping quarters and when outside their cabin wore face coverings and kept six feet apart from others while aboard the ferry, according to AMHS.
Dr. Anne Zink, the state’s chief medical officer, said this was an example of everyone doing everything right, “but this is a sneaky virus and travel is inherently risky during a global pandemic,” she said.
The infected passenger had very mild “allergy-like” symptoms that they did not attribute to COVID-19. This is an important reminder that people can be asymptomatic or only have very mild symptoms and still be infected, AMHS officials said.
DHAA advised recent travelers on the M/V Kennicott to take extra care to follow COVID-19 precautions, wear a mask in public, maintain social distance from non-household members, avoid crowded places where distance cannot be maintained, and to self-monitor for symptoms of the novel coronavirus.