OBI Seafoods employees test positive for COVID-19, Kwik'Pak halts purchasing

A coronavirus case in Mountain Village, in Southwest Alaska, has halted the commercial fishery in the state’s Yukon region, according to Alaska Public Media.

The Kwik’Pak processing plant that handles Yukon River salmon is not currently purchasing fish from District 2 of the Yukon River, known as Y2. The district includes Mountain Village, Pitkas Point, St. Mary’s, Pilot Station, and Marshall.

Kwik’Pak General Manager Jack Schultheis confirmed the plant was still fully operational in District 1 of the Yukon River. District 1 includes Nunam Iqua, Alakanuk, Kotlik, and Emmonak. The plant is located in Emmonak.

Schultheis said that the shutdown of commercial fishing in District 2 would allow fishermen in Mountain Village to shelter in place until they can be tested. He added that the Yukon-Kuksokwim Health Coroporation would be conducting widespread testing in the town.

Schultheis said Kwik’Pak expects to continue buying salmon from District 2 at some point this summer but he was unsure when exactly it would happen.

Negative tests would influence the timeline, Schultheis said.

“But I wouldn’t go as far as to say it would be the only qualifier,” he said.

In Petersburg, an employee of OBI Seafoods tested positive for COVID-19, which was announced over the holiday weekend, according to KFSK. The worker has been isolated and is asymptomatic.

OBI tests its incoming workers in Seattle and then two additional times during the 14-day quarantine period imposed on arriving workers by the state of Alaska. The man tested positive once he had already arrived in Alaska. It was the third positive test in the community. One was a guest at a sport fishing lodge, and the other was a Trident Seafoods worker, who has since recovered since testing positive in June.

Around 170 test results from the Petersburg Medical Center are still pending, and some have been waiting for more than a week.

Photo courtesy of Kwik'Pak


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