UniSea’s Unalaska plant locked down after COVID-19 outbreak

Redmond, Washington, U.S.A.-based UniSea has partially locked down its seafood processing facility in Unalaska, Alaska, after seven of its employees tested positive for COVID-19.

The company, which is owned by Nippon Suisan Kaisha (Nissui), is in the process of testing most of the staff at the facility and conducting contract tracing to determine the full scale of the outbreak, according to KUCB.

UniSea President and CEO Tom Enlow said some of the employees who tested positive attended a small gathering to celebrate New Year’s Eve. Some of the cases may also be a result of wider transmission of COVID-19 in the community of Unalaska, Enlow said.

“This raised our risk level to ‘high’ and we sent everyone to their housing quarters and basically shut down non-essential work,” Enlow said in a statement issued to KUCB on Wednesday, 6 January. “We have restricted movement outside of our campus to only essential travel, such as to the clinic or for supplies.”

The company is “following the current recommendations made by the Centers for Disease Control, state, and local health officials during the current COVID-19 pandemic,” it said, and has cut its night shift at its UniSea Cold Strage plant in Washington state.

In its 13 January COVID-19 report, the City of Unalaska noted seven new industry-related coronavirus infections, in addition to three community-acquired cases. The city presently has 20 current industry-related infections and 10 community-acquired infections.

UniSea previously experienced a COVID-19 outbreak at its Unalaska plant in September, according to Alaska Public Radio. The plan employs between 700 and 1,000 workers. The company has upped its security protocols at the plant in response to the pandemic.

Photo courtesy of UniSea


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