City raises alert level after virus outbreak

Classes canceled as 5 students test positive

The Cordova Center. (Feb. 3, 2021) Photo by Zachary Snowdon Smith/The Cordova Times

The city of Cordova raised its public health alert level after 10 new novel coronavirus cases were reported from Monday, Feb. 22–Tuesday, Feb. 23.

Classes at Mt. Eccles Elementary School and Cordova Jr./Sr. High School were canceled for the afternoon of Feb. 23, and moved online beginning Wednesday, Feb. 24, after five students tested positive for the virus. Classes for Thursday, Feb. 25 and Friday, Feb. 26 had previously been canceled for unrelated reasons. Both Mt. Eccles Elementary School and Cordova Jr./Sr. High School were affected by the outbreak, Superintendent Alex Russin said in a statement.

The school district has kept classes operating safely by consistently using several layers of health protocols, Mt. Eccles Principal Stephanie Milner said.

“Due to the nature of this virus, we sometimes have these reminders to everyone that there isn’t room for letting our guard down, and we must continue to practice these different mitigation efforts that CSD has insisted on since school starting back in the fall,” Milner wrote in an email. “Safety of students, staff and community is always paramount to the Cordova School District, and we will all continue to keep safety at the forefront as this situation continues to unfold.”

The city had enjoyed an uneventful period from Feb. 9-21 during which no new virus cases were reported. The sudden outbreak, which has paused reopening efforts at venues like the Net Loft craft store, is a reminder that self-isolation requirements when traveling should be followed to the letter, city officials said.

“We’ve got to stop this in its tracks,” City Manager Helen Howarth said. “Everyone needs to really, really keep their guard up.”

Of the 99 local cases identified so far, 10 are believed to be currently active. Eighty-two cases have been Cordova residents and 17 have been non-residents. Three cases have required hospitalization, according to data published by Ilanka Community Health Center. One Cordova resident who tested positive for the novel coronavirus died Nov. 18.

As of Feb. 22, 719 people in Cordova have received the first of two coronavirus vaccine shots, and 332 have received both shots, according to data published by the city. Coronavirus testing is available at ICHC, Mondays and Fridays from 2-3 p.m.; and at Cordova Community Medical Center, Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays from 9-9:30 a.m.