Longtime Petersburg resident, hospitalized in Washington state, has died of coronavirus

Pete Erickson and his father, Pete Erickson Sr, a longtime Petersburg resident who died March 16 in a hospital in Washington state after testing positive for coronavirus. (Photo courtesy of Pete Erickson)

A Petersburg man in a Seattle hospital died Monday, March 16, after testing positive for COVID-19, his family said.

Pete Erickson Sr. was 76. He moved to Petersburg in 1966.

On Tuesday, the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services announced a person from Southeast Alaska had died on March 16 of COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus. The Alaskan died at a health care facility in King County, Washington. Clinton Bennett, a spokesman for the department, said he couldn’t comment on whether Erickson was that person, citing health privacy laws.

Erickson was medevaced to Virginia Mason Hospital in Seattle in late February suffering from other serious health problems and then was transferred to St. Francis Hospital in Federal Way, Washington, which is in King County, according to his family.

His son, also named Pete Erickson, has since tested positive for the virus and is in quarantine in Washington state. The younger Erickson does not know for sure where he and his father were exposed but thinks it happened during his father’s time in the hospital.

Bennett said the health department could confirm as of noon Wednesday that there was one Alaskan known to have died of the disease.

Read the latest coverage of the coronavirus in Alaska.

Reporter Tegan Hanlon contributed to this story from Anchorage.

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Joe Viechnicki is a reporter at KFSK in Petersburg.