Alaska hit with second COVID-19 trawler outbreak

Alaska’s winter groundfish fishery was hit with a second COVID-19 outbreak after nine of 28 people on board a trawler owned by the O’Hara Corporation tested positive for coronavirus this week.

According to the City of Unalaska, O’Hara’s F/T Enterprise arrived in Dutch Harbor on Saturday, 5 December, when two crew members were found to have COVID-19. A local clinic tested the rest of the crew and found another seven positive cases.

“The nine individuals that tested positive have been isolated onshore in Unalaska and planning is in process to move them closer to full service medical services. The remaining crew with negative test results are being monitored in quarantine. We are working closely with the City of Unalaska and the State of Alaska in implementing our response plan,” O’Hara said in a statement.

The city said O’Hara was making plans to transport the Enterprise crew members to Anchorage “over the next two days.”

“Our goal is to bring everyone home safe and healthy to their families for the holiday season,” O’Hara said.

This outbreak came on the heels of news that nearly all the crew of the US Seafoods catcher-processor F/T Legacy had COVID-19. On Wednesday, the Legacy was still in the port at Dutch Harbor where U.S. Seafoods was working with state and local officials “to meet the needs of the crew,” which was isolated on the vessel.

Unalaska reported 42 active cases as of Wednesday, 9 December, but they city said the two vessels were properly contained and did not pose a risk to the community.

"However, the state reports a total of 2,214 new cases and, sadly, four deaths since our news release on Friday, 4 December. Therefore, everyone in town is strongly urged to comply with the travel quarantine order and do their part to protect themselves and protect each other,” the city said in a statement.

Unalaska’s Dutch Harbor is the nation’s largest port by volume, logging 763 million pounds in landings last year, according to NOAA.

Coronavirus cases were surging across Alaska, with the state registering its highest ever daily case count on Saturday with 933 infections, fueling concerns of overcrowding in hospitals.

Photo courtesy of O’Hara Corporation


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