A COVID-19 outbreak at the Trident Seafoods plant in the small, remote community of Akutan resulted in positive tests for more than one-third of the workers tested so far.
The Alaska Department of Health and Social Services said on Tuesday that 135 of the 307 employees returned positively to the test plant, the largest seafood processing facility in North America that has a workforce that dwarfs the community’s population Does.
It was not immediately clear how many workers who tested positive are showing symptoms of the virus.
State officials said that five workers have been made mediators for problems related to COVID-19 but not all. This includes the discovery of the virus in a plant that develops breathing problems on 17 January. Four workers tested positive that day, the company has said.
And the trial continues. The plant employs about 700 workers. State officials say additional medical supplies and ventilators are being sent to the plant.
Its outbreak is the third in a billion-dollar Bering Sea Pollock fishery at a seafood processing plant in the Aleutian Islands in about a week.
Westward Seafoods, which owns Eliska Seafoods in Eliska, has temporarily halted production on Friday based on a cluster of positive COVID-19 cases, according to an update from the city.
Eliska “has plans for response to identified positive cases within its workforce” including isolating people who test positive, helping with contact tracing, finding close contact with infected workers and over-testing people is.
A message left Tuesday at the company’s Seattle headquarters did not return.
An outbreak at another Unalaska plant operated by UniSea closed earlier, although officials have said they hope to reopen by this weekend. A Unisia representative did not return a request for information on the status of the test there Tuesday, and a possible reopening schedule.
All eyes are on Trident, given the company’s reputation in the industry and the plant’s remote location with difficult access and few medical resources. The plant is a closed campus where workers complete a 14-day quarantine before meeting on the island.
This is a developing story. Check back for updates.