Kodiak Island has its first case of coronavirus

Kodiak downtown area. (Photo by Raymond Bucko, SJ / Flickr)

A first case of COVID-19 was confirmed on Kodiak Island Wednesday afternoon. According to a news release from the Kodiak Area Emergency Services Organization, the person “is not acutely ill and is staying at home.”

“Public health officials have made contact with the individual, and we’ll continue to monitor the condition to ensure continued self-isolation,” city manager Mike Tvenge said. “Right now we have no reason to suspect this won’t occur.”

The case was not among the eight new cases reported by the state in its daily update on Wednesday, but with it the total number of cases in Alaska is 294. 

The other newly-diagnosed Alaskans reported Wednesday include one from Nome, three from Juneau, one from Sterling and three from Anchorage.

Tvenge said that public health officials are beginning a contact investigation to identify and reach out to anyone the Kodiak patient came in contact with. Public health will notify and isolate additional people as appropriate, according to the emergency services announcement.

“We want to assure the public that we are working closely with Kodiak Public Health to identify anyone who may be at risk for having contact with this individual,” Tvenge said. “We’ll keep the public informed of any information that is needed for community health and safety.”

The Kodiak Emergency Operations Center was unable to provide more information about the positive case on Wednesday afternoon. Public information officer Lt. Francis De La Fuente said they were hoping to get more information from Kodiak Public Health within the next day or two.

Tvenge also emphasized the importance of practicing the CDC recommended guidelines for preventing spread of the coronavirus — wash hands frequently, stay away from others, practice social distancing as much as possible and wear a mask in public. Anyone who is feeling ill should contact their health care provider for advice before coming into a medical facility.

Kodiak Area Native Association and Kodiak Community Health Center are accepting calls from all residents, whether or not they’re patients, to provide screening and, if necessary, test for COVID-19. With hundreds of rapid-testing kits on the island, KANA’s Dr. Evan Jones said there aren’t enough supplies to test everyone in Kodiak, but they can be more liberal about who they test.

“We’ve become very easygoing about who we test,” he said Wednesday morning, before the positive result was announced. “We would be happy to test people who are concerned about it, especially people who have higher risk population in their household.”

This is a breaking story. KMXT will provide more information as it becomes available.

Previous articleSelf-employed and out of work? Apply for unemployment anyway, says Department of Labor
Next articleValdez challenges RCA’s decision to keep Hilcorp finances confidential