ANCHORAGE – Testing of employees at the Copper River Seafoods’ (CRS) Anchorage processing plant from July 17 to 22, 2020 found 56 of 134 employees tested positive for COVID-19. Thirty employee test results are pending, and 14 employees are untested. Almost all employees are Municipality of Anchorage residents.
Employees with positive test results are being notified and instructed to follow CDC isolation protocols.
“This is a concerning situation for the people of Anchorage,” said Dr. Bruce Chandler, the Anchorage Health Department’s chief medical officer. “With so many workers now testing positive, it is likely that this outbreak has been in progress for some time and that transmission has already occurred among family, friends and others in the community.”
CRS is working with the Anchorage Health Department (AHD) and State of Alaska Department of Health & Social Services (DHSS) to control this outbreak as quickly as possible and prevent further spread of the disease among co-workers, family members and the community. Contact tracing is being initiated by AHD and the DHSS Section of Epidemiology.
Employees who tested negative will remain under quarantine where they will be monitored and tested every three days until no additional positive cases are identified. All employees with negative tests and household members of identified cases are considered to be close contacts and are being instructed to follow CDC recommendations for quarantine and self-monitoring.
After the first case was identified, the company closed the facility to undergo deep cleaning and disinfection according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidance.
Given the rising cases and community transmission now occurring in Alaska, Anchorage residents are encouraged to keep 6 feet from non-household members, wear a mask or cloth face covering in public settings, wash your hands often, avoid large gatherings, and keep your social bubble small. Anyone who feels even mildly ill is encouraged to get tested. If you test positive, please contact your own close contacts if you can, to minimize the time those people might be out in the community, potentially exposing others.