Kodiak has recorded its second confirmed case of COVID-19, from an asymptomatic nonresident who had traveled from the East Coast of the Lower 48 to take a job on the island as a fisherman.
The fisherman arrived in Kodiak by plane, went into quarantine and then went to be tested the following day, Kodiak Emergency Services Director Mike Tvenge said on a live streamed Facebook video on Wednesday.
After the test, the fisherman returned to quarantine and was notified later in the day that the test had come back positive. The result was confirmed by a rapid Abbott ID Now test.
The individual remains in isolation, and the contact investigation is complete. The investigation found the traveler to have had minimal contact with others.
“If you have not been contacted by public health, you are not considered a close contact,” Tvenge said, adding that the ESC was notified Tuesday evening of the positive case.
In order to be considered a “close contact,” a person needs to have been within 6 feet of the infected person and talking to them face-to-face for 10 minutes without wearing a mask, said Elsa DeHart, a Kodiak Public Health nurse.
Because the fisherman is still asymptomatic, they will remain in isolation until 10 days from when the test was taken.
Typically, when the person infected with the virus presents symptoms, isolation lasts until three days have passed since recovery, or until 10 days have passed since symptoms first appeared.
“They did everything right,” DeHart said of the fisherman's employer, who required the testing.
She noted that as Alaska opens further, her main concern for spreading the virus is not fishermen but rather others who are traveling by plane.
“I'm not as worried about the fishermen because they quarantine in the harbors. They are testing people, but there are tons of (other) people everyday getting off that plane,” DeHart said.
The Kodiak Area Native Association and the Kodiak Community Health Clinic each have multiple rapid testing devices.
According to Evan Jones, who spoke on KMXT radio on Wednesday morning, the rapid testing device 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.
DeHart also said that KANA offers free COVID-19 testing to people with or without symptoms.
The first confirmed case of COVID-19 in Kodiak was announced on April 15, and came from an employee of internet and cellular service provider GCI.