KETCHIKAN (KDN) — One new case of COVID-19 was counted in Ketchikan on Wednesday.
“This individual was a close contact of a previous positive case and sought testing at a local clinic upon experiencing symptoms,” stated a Wednesday evening press release from the local Emergency Operations Center.
The EOC also noted that a Ketchikan case announced Tuesday as being under investigation as to source was determined to be community spread. With that determination, both of the two cases announced Tuesday in Ketchikan have been linked to community spread. and are only two cases of community spread recorded in Ketchikan during the past seven days, according to online EOC information.
The two cases announced Tuesday were described as being related to two separate congregate setting facilities.
On Wednesday evening, Residential Youth Care Inc. released a statement saying RYC was notified Tuesday that an employee had tested positive for COVID-19.
The employee’s most recent contact with other RYC employees or residents was this past Friday, according to the statement. RYC staff and clients who’ve been determined to have been close contacts with the person who tested positive are following quarantine protocols.
RYC clients who were identified as possible close contacts were tested on Wednesday, and all results from those tests were negative, according to the RYC statement, which added that a another round of testing will occur within seven to 14 days of exposure.
RYC is implementing additional mitigation efforts and will be adhering to quarantine for the recommended 14 days, as directed by Public Health, according to the statement.
“RYC's employees’ and residents' safety continues to be the number one priority of Residential Youth Care, Inc,” stated the announcement, which describes additional notifications and mitigation measures underway. “RYC will keep employees, clients, parents and guardians, and the public updated as we receive more information as it becomes available.”
Cumulatively, Ketchikan has counted 192 COVID-19 cases, with 19 of those cases considered active on Tuesday evening.
The community remained at Risk Level 3 (High) on Wednesday.
A total of 23,843 tests have been conducted in Ketchikan. The local positivity rate was 3.11% on Wednesday.
The EOC statement noted that there might be a longer turnaround time for results from tests conducted between Tuesday and Saturday at the Berth 3 drive-up clinic or the Ketchikan International Airport’s traveler testing site.
“This is due to a delay by the manufacturer in shipping the reagent for the rapid laboratory processing that is used by Creekside Clinic,” according to the EOC release. “The reagent has been shipped and is expected by November 21st at the latest. It could arrive as soon as November 19th.”
“Until the reagent arrives, the test samples will be sent to one of two laboratories located in Washington,” the release continued. “These are the same laboratories that processed the test results prior to Creekside implementing the rapid testing machine and laboratory. While the turnaround time for the results sent to the Washington laboratories can be as much as 2 to 5 days, we had previously experienced a 36 to 48 hour turnaround time for most of the test results from these labs.”
Additionally, the PeaceHealth Ketchikan Medical Center announced in a Wednesday press release that visitation is being limited at the facility.
“For PeaceHealth Medical Group clinics, including Women’s Health and Pediatrics, no visitors are allowed with few exceptions,” the press release stated. “Family and partner participation during visits using video chat technology is welcome and encouraged.”
The release continued: “For hospital inpatients, including labor and delivery, patients are limited to one designated visitor following a health screening and adherence to our masking policy.”
Exceptions to the visitation policy will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis, according to KMC.
COVID-19 in Alaska
On the same day that Alaska crested 24,000 total COVID-19 cases, a record number of Alaskans were hospitalized for reasons related to the novel coronavirus on Tuesday, according to a statement from the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services.
With 129 COVID-19 positive individuals hospitalized, and another 18 in hospitals and under investigation for the virus, COVID-19 related hospitalizations comprised 15.1% of the hospitalizations statewide, according to DHSS.
According to COVID-19 data assembled by Johns Hopkins University, Alaska’s positivity rate (measured over the past 14 days) indicates that the state’s testing is not meeting recommendations from the World Health Organization.
WHO guidance states that areas with test positivity rates below 5% (during a seven-day period) are conducting an adequate number of tests to keep up with new cases.
Only seven states had positivity rates that fell in line with the WHO testing criteria on Wednesday – Vermont, Hawaii, Maine, New York, Massachusetts, the District of Columbia and New Hampshire, per Johns Hopkins.
Alaska’s Wednesday positivity rate of 8.26% was lower than Virginia (8.32%) but higher than both New Mexico (7.86%) and Washington (7.71%).
As of midnight Tuesday, DHSS reported the following COVID-19 statistics:
• New cases on Tuesday: 551 (549 resident and two nonresident cases).
• Areas to record 10 or more resident cases on Tuesday: Anchorage (251); Bethel (35); Wasilla (27); Kenai (26); Eagle River and Fairbanks (25); Soldotna and the Bethel Census Area (21); North Pole and Kodiak (11); and Chugiak (10).
• Southeast areas to record cases on Tuesday: one in Ketchikan, one in Sitka and seven in Juneau.
• Nonresident case locations: one in Anchorage and one in an unidentified region of the state.
• Cumulative cases: 24,588 (of those cases, 24,419 involve Alaskans and 1,169 involve nonresidents).
• Total hospitalizations: 584.
• Current hospitalizations: 147 (129 involving COVID-19 positive individuals, and 18 involving those under investigation for the virus).
• New deaths: 0.
• Total number of deaths: 100 (99 resident deaths and one nonresident death).
• Statewide tests conducted: 885,558.
• Statewide risk level: High. As of Wednesday evening, information about the state’s average daily case rate was unavailable from DHSS.
• Statewide positivity rate: 8.26%, an increase from Monday’s rate of 7.91%.