Kodiak’s fifth confirmed positive COVID-19 case, first reported on Tuesday, was from an asymptomatic employee at the Kodiak Area Native Association.
The employee tested positive during a routine COVID-19 test that occurs weekly for all KANA employees, said Dr. Elise Pletnikoff from the association.
Local health officials said the case appears to have been contracted through community spread outside of the office.
Everyone at KANA who had been in contact with the individual has tested negative, Pletnikoff said.
“The patient had exposure in the community,” she said, adding that the patient had an “unmasked exposure in a group setting” in a public space.
Pletnikoff reiterated that the KANA employee was not at risk for transmitting the virus to patients, and those who were in contact with the employee have already been contacted.
When the KANA employee tested positive, the company closed workstations and tested all the employees who interacted with the patient.
The employee who contracted the virus will be isolated at home for two weeks. Another employee who works closely with the patient will also be sent home for a yet-to-be decided period of time.
According to Wednesday’s edition of the “Lowdown” on KMXT, three of the island’s five confirmed cases are recovered and all five cases are young adults, with one case on a remote part of the island.
Dr. Pletnikoff said KANA is working to set up a COVID-19 testing tent at the Kodiak Benny Benson State Airport behind Island Air. She also said that testing will be available around the time the flights land in the afternoon and patients should get their results within 24 hours.
KANA and Kodiak Island Ambulatory Care Clinic Inc. currently offer free COVID-19 testing to anyone in the community whether or not they have symptoms.
In addition, KANA and Kodiak Providence Island Medical Center both have multiple rapid testing machines.
According to Dr. Evan Jones of KANA, who spoke on KMXT radio on June 3, the rapid testing devices can deliver results every 15 to 20 minutes, with the capacity to test three to four samples per machine per hour.
Dr. Steve Smith, a specialist in emergency medicine at Providence Kodiak Island Medical Center, noted on the radio program that despite the increased capacity, the city does not have enough capacity to test everyone.
On Wednesday, the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services reported 20 new cases of COVID-19 in Alaska, raising the statewide total to 696 cases with 438 of those already recovered. Alaska has had 55 hospitalizations and 12 deaths.
The Kodiak ESC continues to recommend that people remain at home and contact a medical provider if they feel sick or suspect that they may be infected with the virus.
For those who are not sick, the ESC recommends to wash hands often, clean frequently touched surfaces and objects daily, keep social circles and gatherings small, wear a mask or face covering when out in public, and maintain social distancing of at least 6 feet when out in public.