In this June 23, 2016 photo, the Alaska Marine Highway’s ferry Matanuska passes Eagle Glacier. (Michael Penn / Juneau Empire File)

In this June 23, 2016 photo, the Alaska Marine Highway’s ferry Matanuska passes Eagle Glacier. (Michael Penn / Juneau Empire File)

Sailings canceled after ferry passengers test positive for COVID-19

DHSS believes they were infectious while traveling

Sailings are canceled through Aug. 20 for a ferry that recently transported people who have tested positive for COVID-19, Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities announced Friday night.

Earlier this week, five passengers who traveled aboard the M/V Matanuska tested positive for COVID-19, the department said in a news release. The ferry’s crew must be tested and are required to receive negative results before the ship resumes service.

The passengers are believed to have been infectious while traveling on the M/V Matanuska from Kake to Juneau on Aug. 10, According to DOT. The Matanuska stopped in Sitka while on the voyage, and arrived in Bellingham, Washington Friday morning. The crew will be tested before the northbound departure, according to DOT. The passengers contacted AMHS to let them know they had tested positive, the release said, and DOT was informing passengers and the public out of an abundance of caution.

Additionally, DHSS recommends that recent travelers aboard the Matanuska self-monitor for symptoms of COVID-19 and take extra precautions, including ones already recommended for all Alaskans.

These include wearing a face covering in public, staying six feet apart from non-household members, avoiding crowds and getting tested for COVID-19 if symptoms arrive.

Passengers who had tickets for the canceled sailings are being notified and either rebooked or refunded, according to DOT.

The new schedule is available at www.ferryalaska.com or by calling 465-3941 or 1-800-642-0066.

The Matanuska’s next sailing is scheduled to depart 6 p.m., Friday, Aug. 21, from Bellingham, Washington, according to DOT.

• Contact reporter Peter Segall at psegall@juneauempire.com. Follow him on Twitter at @SegallJnoEmpire.3

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