Trident Seafoods scrambling to contain COVID-19 outbreak ahead of pollock A season

Trident Seafoods is scrambling to contain a coronavirus outbreak at a plant on the Aleutian Islands on the eve of the pollock A season.

The Seattle, Washington, U.S.A.-based company announced on Monday, 18 January, that four roommates had tested positive at Trident’s plant in Akutan, Alaska, a processing center that takes in crab and cod as well as pollock from the Bering Sea fisheries.

One of the infected employees had difficulty breathing and was sent to Anchorage for medical treatment, according to The Seattle Times. It is terrible timing for Trident, as the company expects to double the 700 employees now currently working at the plant in the coming weeks to prepare for the pollock A season, which starts Wednesday, 20 January. The Bering Sea pollock fishery is the nation’s largest by volume and the A season, which runs through 30 April, is typically the peak of the harvest.

Travel plans for 365 new employees slated to fly into the Akutan plant were now on hold, the Seattle Times reported. Trident, the nation’s largest seafood harvester and processor, has been among the companies that has successfully kept COVID-19 at bay through the summer and fall fisheries in Alaska. Trident employees traveling to Alaska, including those who tested positive this week, must provide a negative coronavirus test and quarantine for 14 days prior to making the trip.

Workers at plants like the one in Akutan – Trident’s largest plant in Alaska – are then asked to stay on the processing facility grounds to avoid contact with local communities.

Company spokesperson Stefanie Moreland told The Seattle Times that this week’s positive cases were the first at any of Trident’s campuses around Alaska, and the company was investigating how the infected workers made it to the plant. The company added that it ws engaged in contact tracing while it focused on identifying other employees who may have been infected. 

Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons


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