KETCHIKAN (KDN) — Ketchikan's Community Risk Level dropped to Level 2 (Moderate) on Thursday afternoon, due to a sustained decline in cases and community transmission, according to the local Emergency Operations Center.
The EOC also tallied two new virus cases on Thursday, according to the late afternoon press release. One case was travel-related and stems from May 28, while the second involved a symptomatic individual found to be a close contact of a known positive case.
Thursday marked the first time in one month that the Community Risk Level had been at Level 2. The EOC had raised the risk level to Level 3 (High) on May 4, then increased it to Level 4 (Very High) on May 11 before lowering it back to Level 3 (High) on May 26.
"The number of community spread cases has decreased to five in the past seven days," read the EOC release. "The overall number of positive cases and the amount of active cases has also steadily declined. The positivity rate (percent of positive cases based on number of tests issued) has continued to trend downward. Because of these factors, the risk level has been reduced to Level 2 – Moderate."
The EOC recommends that indoor gatherings are limited to less than 50 attendees, while outdoor gatherings should be capped at 100 people, per the Thursday statement.
A contact tracing investigation was ongoing into the virus case charted on Thursday.
Results were pending from 49 virus tests islandwide, according to the EOC. The local test positivity rate dropped from 2.94% on Wednesday to 2.69% on Thursday.
The Berth 3 drive-up testing clinic will operate Tuesday through Saturday, from 9:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. and 4:30 p.m., the release noted.
The PeaceHealth Ketchikan Medical Center COVID-19 unit was empty as of late Thursday afternoon.
According to the EOC dashboard, 675 positive COVID-19 test results have been counted by the EOC. Of those cases, 14 have been counted in the past seven days, and 42 have been tallied in the past two weeks.
Nineteen cases were active on Thursday.
With the move back down to Risk Level 2, the EOC will not issue daily press releases, although the data dashboard will continue to be updated by 5 p.m. every weekday. At Level 2, press releases will be issued on an "as-needed basis for emergent information," according to the EOC.
Prince of Wales Island update
The City of Craig Emergency Operations Center announced six new COVID-19 cases on Wednesday and one case on Tuesday.
Two of those cases were recorded in Craig, while five were tallied in communities on Prince of Wales Island with less than 1,000 residents, according to the Craig EOC press release issued on Thursday.
"Of the two Craig cases, both are determined to be secondary spread," the announcement read. "The Division of Public Health and the Alaska Section of Epidemiology are conducting case investigations and contact tracing to determine how the five remaining cases were exposed, and the potential scope of contacts."
The release also noted that the Alicia Roberts Medical Center on Wednesday was limiting its services to emergency situations only due to virus-related hospitalizations in the facility.
"Unfortunately, we are operating under a state of emergency operations only due to having multiple COVID patients in the clinic," the center's statement read. "We are closed to primary care appointments for the remainder of the day to limit the risk of exposure to patients and the community."
As of Wednesday evening, 16 of POW's 97 total cases were still considered to be active infections, according to the Craig EOC.
No new COVID-19 cases were detected in Metlatkatla by the Annette Island Service Unit on Thursday, according to an evening announcement from the Metlakatla Indian Community.
The MIC statement also noted that eight negative virus test results were returned in the community that day.
Metlakatla's Community Alert Level remained at Level 3, but an announcement will be issued by MIC by 8:30 a.m. Friday, according to the statement.
As of Thursday evening, seven of Metlakatla's 48 cumulative cases were considered to be active infections.
"If traveling, take measures to protect yourself and your family by following the protocols," the MIC announcement read. "Continue to wear a mask, wash hands, use hand sanitizer, practice social distancing."