KETCHIKAN (KDN) — One Alaska resident has died from COVID-19 and seven more have been confirmed to have the novel coronavirus — three of whom are in Ketchikan.
Alaska Chief Medical Officer Anne Zink announced during a press conference Tuesday evening that an Alaska resident died in Washington, where it is believed the victim contracted the illness.
The person was older, and at high risk from the disease, Zink said. The death is the first from the novel coronavirus for a state resident.
Of the seven new cases announced Tuesday, three are in Ketchikan.
The three cases in Ketchikan are in self-isolation, according to updates issued Tuesday by the Ketchikan Emergency Operations Center.
Two of the individuals do not have a history of recent travel, according to announcement late Tuesday morning from the EOC.
The third positive test result was announced at about 8:05 p.m. Tuesday. The EOC announcement didn't indicate whether the individual had traveled recently.
Ketchikan Public Health officials have contacted all three individuals and will continue to monitor their conditions to ensure continued self-isolation, according to the EOC announcements. Public Health officials have initiated contact investigations, will reach out to any person who might have come into contact with these individuals, and will notify and isolate additional people as appropriate.
Two of the seven new confirmed positive cases are in Fairbanks. Juneau and Sterling each have one new case. As of Tuesday evening, Alaska had 43 confirmed positive cases of COVID-19.
Zink emphasized at Tuesday's press conference that everyone is responsible for adhering to the state's mandates as closely as possible.
"Everyone has an exception (to the mandates)," Zink said. "I feel like I've spent all day dealing with everyone's exceptions. And the reality is, this virus doesn't care what your exception is. This virus is going to infect you if you don't slow things down and you don't move apart from each other. So please, just for two weeks, stop what you're doing. Stay away from each other."
She added later: "Alaska, it's really up to us."
No new mandates or health alerts were announced by Zink or Gov. Mike Dunleavy during Tuesday evening's press conference.
Earlier in the day, the Ketchikan EOC stressed adhering to measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in the Ketchikan area, which saw the first of its now nine positive test results announced on March 17.
"We have seen exponential spread of COVID-19 in Ketchikan this week because it is so highly contagious," stated the Ketchikan EOC announcement on Tuesday morning. "All Ketchikan residents must take this virus seriously and take actions to help stop the spread now. At the current rate of spread, Ketchikan could have over 400 positive cases of COVID-19 by the end of next week. If we all do our part, we can reduce that number dramatically and contain the spread."