The Kodiak Area Emergency Services Organization announced two new positive COVID-19 cases on Wednesday. Both of them were confirmed to be U.S. Coast Guard service members who were in close contact with the two cases reported Tuesday.
In addition, Kodiak Public Health Nurse Elsa DeHart said on Wednesday that two more positive cases were detected among close contacts with the Coast Guard outbreak, bringing to six the total number of cases connected to the base so far this week.
One of the close contacts is an individual at Peterson Elementary School, located near the Coast Guard base and service member housing. The school was scheduled to be closed on Thursday for cleaning and disinfecting, and is scheduled to reopen on Friday, said School Superintendent Larry LeDoux.
The Coast Guard is conducting contact tracing to identify the possible origins of the COVID cases and others who may have come in contact with the crew members.
“During the month of September, a couple of air station crew members were involved in Coast Guard operations that took them off island,” said Petty Officer 1st Class Ali Blackburn, a public affairs officer with the Coast Guard.
Three of the four service members who contracted the virus were symptomatic with mild symptoms, Blackburn said. All four are isolating in their residences.
Blackburn also said the Coast Guard cannot speculate on the source of the exposure to the virus. Once contact tracing is complete, the Coast Guard will have more information.
On Wednesday, the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services announced 108 new COVID-19 cases in the state.
The total includes 62 people from Anchorage; 13 from Fairbanks; four from Bethel Census Area; three each from the Northwest Arctic Borough, Palmer, Sitka and Utqiagvik; two each from Juneau, Kodiak, Kotzebue and Nome Census Area; and one each in Douglas, Homer, North Pole, Soldotna, Tok and Wasilla.
Three new nonresident cases were also reported: two from Anchorage and one from Fairbanks.
Two resident cases have been removed from the data dashboard through data verification procedures, bringing the total number of Alaska resident cases to 7,824 and the total number of nonresident cases to 956.
“The current statewide alert level, based on the average daily case rate for the past 14 days, is high,” said a department press release.
The press release also said that there have been 293 hospitalizations and 56 deaths.
There are currently 33 patients diagnosed with COVID-19 who are hospitalized and 20 additional patients who are considered persons under investigation for a total of 53 current COVID-related hospitalizations. Seven of these patients are on ventilators.