COVID-19 hits Copper River Seafoods processing facility in Anchorage

Fifty-six of 134 employees at Copper River Seafoods’ processing facility in Anchorage have tested positive for the novel coronavirus and 30 more test results are pending, municipal health department officials said on Friday, July 24.

Nearly all of them are residents of the municipality.

With so many workers now testing positive, it is likely that this outbreak has been in progress for some time and that transmission has already occurred among family, friends and others in the community,” said Dr. Bruce Chandler, the city health department’s chief medical officer.

Copper River Seafoods is now working with the Anchorage Health Department and the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services to control the outbreak and prevent further spread of the virus among co-workers, family members and the community, and contact tracing has been initiated by city and state officials.

Those newly diagnosed individuals were not included in the overall count of new infections released earlier on July 24 by state health officials.

CRS employees who tested negative are remaining under quarantine, being monitored and tested every three days until no additional positive cases are identified. Meanwhile, all employees with negative tests and household members of identified cases are considered to be close contacts and have been instructed to follow federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommendations for quarantine and self-monitoring, municipal health officials said.

Also given the rising number of COVID-19 cases and rate of community transmission now occurring in Alaska, Anchorage residents have been reminded to maintain social distancing of six feet from those outside of their household, limit their social bubble, wear face coverings in public areas, and wash hands often.

CRS is the fourth seafood processor in recent days to have a number of employees test positive for COVID-19.

Others include seafood processing workers employed aboard three of American Seafoods’ vessels fishing for groundfish in the Bering Sea, at Alaska Glacier Seafoods’ plant in Juneau and the OBI seafoods plant in Seward.