Update: Elementary student tests positive for COVID-19

City requests halt to unnecessary travel in and out of Cordova

Mt. Eccles Elementary School. (Nov. 17, 2020) Photo by Zachary Snowdon Smith/The Cordova Times

Updated Nov. 18, 8:05 a.m.

A Mt. Eccles Elementary School second grader tested positive for the novel coronavirus, officials announced Monday, Nov. 16. Although investigation is ongoing, the Cordova Medical Response Team does not believe that transmission of the virus occurred at school.

All students and staff who were in contact with the coronavirus-positive student will remain at home for a 14-day quarantine period beginning Tuesday, Nov. 17, Superintendent Alex Russin announced in a statement. Mt. Eccles second graders will also return to online-only instruction for 14 days. The school and affected classroom areas have been cleaned and disinfected, he said. Russin urged community members to cooperate with inquiries by public health and local medical personnel. If contact tracing finds that additional staff or students have been exposed to the virus, they will be notified, he said.

Two additional, travel-related virus cases were identified Nov. 16, along with two cases during the Nov. 14-15 weekend, raising the cumulative number of local virus cases to 43. Of those cases, 37 are presumed recovered. Twenty-nine have been Cordova residents and 14 have been non-residents. One case has required hospitalization.

Nov. 17, the city announced new in-state travel guidelines in response to a health order issued Sunday, Nov. 15 by Gov. Mike Dunleavy. The new local guidelines request a pause to unnecessary travel in and out of Cordova, including trips to Anchorage. Travelers arriving in Cordova are encouraged to get documentation of a negative coronavirus test result from within 72 hours prior to arrival, or get proof of having been coronavirus-positive within the past 90 days along with clearance from isolation by a medical professional. Testing elsewhere within 72 hours prior to arrival in Cordova, as opposed to immediately upon arrival, will help the town preserve its limited testing supplies, according to an announcement from the city. Travelers are also strongly encouraged to be tested five days after arrival in Cordova.

The Cordova Medical Response Team asked travelers to quarantine upon arriving in Cordova until, at an absolute minimum, a test taken five days after arrival yields a negative result. Quarantining individuals must not go into public spaces, and should have food and supplies delivered to them, according to a city announcement.

Coronavirus testing is available at Ilanka Community Health Center, Mondays and Fridays from 2-3 p.m., and Saturdays from noon-1 p.m.; and at Cordova Community Medical Center, Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays from 9-9:30 a.m.

In an announcement, city officials urged community members to recommit to following public health guidelines by wearing facial coverings, practicing social distancing, and avoiding crowded and confined spaces. More information can be found at the city of Cordova’s online COVID-19 dashboard.