All 10 virus cases have recovered

Koplin: ‘Now, the risk is complacency.’

Cordova Community Medical Center. (July 20, 2020) Photo by Zachary Snowdon Smith/The Cordova Times

All 10 identified local cases of the novel coronavirus have recovered, as of Monday, July 20. Of those cases, eight were travel-related and two were transmitted through community spread. No new local cases of the virus have been reported since July 10.

Although the outbreak of the pandemic burdened city employees with exceptionally heavy workloads, the situation has since grown more relaxed, Mayor Clay Koplin said. However, the expected mid-August influx of tourists and sport fishers could lead to an outbreak if coupled with lax observance of public health guidelines, he said.

“There are some outliers who feel like the masks and some of the provisions are excessive,” Koplin said. “On the other end of the spectrum, there are some that feel like those provisions aren’t enough. But I think, for the most part, most people have come to the middle and recognized that, even if they don’t entirely agree with what’s being requested, it’s not impossible. It’s manageable.

“Now, the risk is complacency… It would be easy to say, ‘Well, we’ve managed everything that’s been thrown at us so far, so now we can kick back and relax and not worry so much about these protocols or mask-wearing.’”

While it’s possible that there are undetected coronavirus cases in the community, the recovery of all active cases indicates that Cordova’s public health measures have been effective, said Dr. Hannah Sanders, medical director for Cordova Community Medical Center. Sanders encouraged community members to continue behaving cautiously and to travel outside the community only for essential purposes.

“It looks like Cordova’s done a really good job keeping this contained,” Sanders said. “If the virus doesn’t get a new host, it goes away. I’m really hopeful that that’s been the outcome.”

The community’s first four coronavirus cases were Ocean Beauty Seafoods employees who tested positive shortly after arriving in Cordova. The community’s fifth case was a passenger arriving from Washington state by ferry. The community’s sixth case was a traveler returning from Anchorage. The community’s seventh case overall and its first case spread through community contact was a Cordova City Hall employee. The community’s eighth case was also non-travel related. The community’s ninth and tenth cases were both travel-related. Of the 10 identified cases, three have been Cordova residents and seven non-residents.

Compliance with public health guidelines has been good, and most public feedback on the city’s public health policy has been positive, Koplin said. Koplin praised Sanders and the city’s medical team for the effective guidance they’ve provided the city throughout the pandemic.

“[Sanders] stepped into this voluntarily, coming to Cordova knowing that this pandemic had the potential to overwhelm us,” Koplin said. “She’s a great strategist… And she’s a collaborator. It isn’t all about ‘me.’ It’s about ‘we.’”

Bob Korn Memorial Pool reopened Tuesday, July 21, after a brief closure in response to an early-July spike in local coronavirus cases.