96 Alaska seafood processing workers positive for virus

July 24, 2020 GMT

KENAI, Alaska (AP) — Nearly 100 workers at a seafood processing plant in Seward have tested positive for the coronavirus and have been taken to Anchorage and put in quarantine.

The Peninsula Clarion reported Wednesday that the outbreak was identified after an employee at OBI Seafoods tested positive last Sunday, according to a statement from the state’s Department of Health and Social Services.

All 262 plant employees were then tested and 96 tested positive for the coronavirus.

OBI Seafoods ordered employees living in company housing not to leave company property. Eleven of those who tested positive do not live on company property.


Plant employees who tested positive were taken to Anchorage Wednesday to quarantine. Those who tested negative will be tested every three days until no new cases are reported.

The news came three days after officials said 85 crew members aboard a factory fishing vessel docked in the Aleutian Islands had tested positive for the virus.

The boat named the American Triumph departed the Dutch Harbor community of Unalaska and made its way to Seward, docking on Wednesday. The 85 infected employees were taken to Anchorage for quarantine.

“Alaska is currently experiencing three large, separate outbreaks of COVID-19 in the seafood industry,” Alaska’s Chief Epidemiologist Joe McLaughlin said in a statement.

He added: “These outbreaks are reminiscent of the meat packing plant outbreaks in the Lower 48 and stress the importance of vigilant symptom screening and prompt facility-wide testing in congregate work settings when index cases are identified.”