McLaughlin staff member tests positive for COVID-19 as death count rises

This transmission electron microscope image shows the coronavirus that causes COVID-19. The virus was isolated from a patient in the U.S., emerging from the surface of cells cultured in the lab. (National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases – Rocky Mountain Laboratories)

A staff member of the McLaughlin Youth Center in Anchorage has tested positive for the coronavirus, according to a release by the Department of Health and Social Services

The Division of Juvenile Justice, which operates McLaughlin, says it has been in close contact with the state’s Section of Epidemiology since the diagnosis and “is implementing all recommended and necessary protective measures for both staff and residents.” 

Those measures include prioritized testing staff and clients at the Division of Juvenile Justice, sending home staff who were in close contact with the affected patient, and bringing in additional public health officials to help with the contact tracing investigation, according to the release.

The state also announced another death from the coronavirus in Alaska, bringing the total number to six. 

RELATED: Alaska economists say containing the virus is critical for the state’s long-term outlook

The patient who died was 71 years old and had pre-existing conditions. They acquired the infection outside of the state and were hospitalized in Alaska. 

The total case count rose to 14 Sunday, bringing the total to 185, with half of the cases coming from the Fairbanks area. Four new cases were reported in Anchorage, one in Seward, and two in the Juneau area. 

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Lex Treinen is covering the state Legislature for Alaska Public Media. Reach him at

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