Ketchikan warns virus spread possible after quarantine break

Ketchikan warns virus spread possible after quarantine break

A person who didn’t follow quarantine procedures created the possibility of community spread.

KETCHIKAN — Officials say a person who didn’t follow quarantine procedures after arriving in Alaska has created the possibility of broad community spread of the coronavirus.

The person went to social gatherings and public places in Ketchikan while awaiting results of a COVID-19 test that turned out positive, officials said.

The person arrived in Ketchikan Saturday and underwent testing for COVID-19. The state says anyone tested on arrival is to quarantine until they receive a negative test result. Under the state rules, one is not to leave a quarantine location except for medical emergencies or necessary medical care.

This person instead attended social gatherings and went to public places Saturday, Sunday and Monday, events attended by many young people, families and residents, officials said. Officials did not say if the person was a resident or a visitor.

The person’s positive test was received Tuesday, and the person is now in isolation ad checked on daily by public health nurses.

“Because this individual did not quarantine after arrival to Ketchikan as directed, there is potential of a wide community spread of COVID-19,” a statement from the city says. “The effects of the social gatherings are far-reaching and there has been a broad ripple effect to many citizens and organizations.”

“I know many of you are angry, hurt, disappointed, and even scared about the impact this may have in our community. I am too, but we are prepared for this,” Ketchikan Emergency Manager Abner Hoage said in video to the community Wednesday night.

He said there is testing and personal protection equipment available.

“While I don’t support the actions of this individual, now is not the time to express words of anger toward someone who made a few bad choices, but rather the time to support them and others in our community who are impacted.

The Ketchikan Police Department is investigating the individual’s actions for possible charges, and public health nurses are tracing contacts the individual had.

State health officials Thursday reported 12 new COVID-19 cases, bringing Alaska’s total to 708 cases involving residents and 89 involving non-residents. Ketchikan has reported 24 cumulative positive cases. There have been 12 COVID-19-related deaths involving Alaskans.

City officials are advising anyone who attended gatherings in Ketchikan where social distancing wasn’t followed or if someone who recently traveled was in attendance to consider self-quarantining for 14 days and to get tested if symptoms like a cough, fever or difficulty breathing develop.

“We urge parents to question your teenagers about their social interactions and consider imposing a quarantine if you have reason to be concerned about a potential close or secondary contact to the positive case,” officials said.

Because of close or secondary contact to the infected person, a public utility office will be closed for at least two weeks and many city department heads and employees are self-quarantining and working from home.

For most people, the new coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough that clear up in two to three weeks. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia and death.

• This is an Associated Press report.

More in News

In this July 13, 2007, file photo, workers with the Pebble Mine project test drill in the Bristol Bay region of Alaska, near the village of Iliamma. (AP Photo / Al Grillo)
Pebble developer files appeal with Army Corps

The Army Corps of Engineers rejected Pebble Limited Partnership’s application in November.

This August 2019 photos shows a redline at Treadwell Arena designed by Tsimshian artist Abel Ryan. The arena is adding new weekly events to its schedule, City and Borough of Juneau announced. (Michael Penn / Juneau Empire File)
Treadwell Arena adds new weekly events

Hockey and open skate are on the schedule.

This 2020 electron microscope image provided by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases - Rocky Mountain Laboratories shows SARS-CoV-2 virus particles which causes COVID-19, isolated from a patient in the U.S., emerging from the surface of cells cultured in a lab. On Monday, Oct. 5, 2020, the top U.S. public health agency said that coronavirus can spread greater distances through the air than 6 feet, particularly in poorly ventilated and enclosed spaces. But agency officials continued to say such spread is uncommon, and current social distancing guidelines still make sense. (NIAID-RML via AP)
COVID at a glance for Friday, Jan. 22

The most recent state and local numbers.

A Coast Guard Station Juneau 45-foot Response Boat-Medium patrols Auke Bay during an exercise in 2018. A response boat similar to the one in the photo was struck by a laser near Ketchikan on Saturday, Jan. 17, prompting an investigation into the crime. (Lt. Brian Dykens / U.S. Coast Guard)
Coast Guard wants information after laser pointed at boat

“Laser strikes jeopardize the safety of our boat crews…”

This 2020 electron microscope image provided by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases - Rocky Mountain Laboratories shows SARS-CoV-2 virus particles which causes COVID-19, isolated from a patient in the U.S., emerging from the surface of cells cultured in a lab. On Monday, Oct. 5, 2020, the top U.S. public health agency said that coronavirus can spread greater distances through the air than 6 feet, particularly in poorly ventilated and enclosed spaces. But agency officials continued to say such spread is uncommon, and current social distancing guidelines still make sense. (NIAID-RML via AP)
COVID at a glance for Thursday, Jan. 21

The most recent state and local numbers.

Gov. Mike Dunleavy addresses the public during a virtual town hall on Sept. 15, 2020 in Alaska. ( Courtesy Photo / Austin McDaniel, Office of the Governor)
Dunleavy pitches dividend change amid legislative splits

No clear direction has emerged from lawmakers.

Joar Leifseth Ulsom, right, wearing a bib with ExxonMobil lettering on it, congratulates Peter Kaiser on his win in the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race in Nome, Alaska. The world’s most famous sled dog race has lost another major sponsor as the Iditarod prepares for a scaled-back version of this year’s race because of the pandemic, officials said Thursday, Jan. 21, 2021. ExxonMobil confirmed to The Associated Press that the oil giant will drop its sponsorship of the race. (Marc Lester / Anchorage Daily News)
ExxonMobil becomes latest sponsor to sever Iditarod ties

The world’s most famous sled dog race has lost another major sponsor.

Has it always been a police car? (Michael Penn / Juneau Empire)
Police calls for Friday, Jan. 22, 2021

This report contains public information from law enforcement and public safety agencies.

Most Read