Seward reports COVID-19 outbreak

Since Thursday, the state has reported four new resident cases and one new nonresident case.

City of Seward logo.

City of Seward logo.

Seward announced an outbreak of COVID-19 Friday, after multiple new cases were reported in the last week.

Public health defines an outbreak as two or more cases, the city of Seward said in a Friday release.

Since Thursday, the state has reported four new resident cases and one new nonresident case, bringing the total number of Seward cases to nine — eight resident cases and one nonresident case.

In response to the positive cases, the Seward Community Health Center began providing targeted COVID-19 testing on Saturday. The testing is recommended for anyone who visited the Seward Alehouse on June 21, 22 or 23 or the Yukon Bar on June 23.

The testing will be provided Monday, June 29 through Thursday, July 2 from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. and 1-2 p.m. at the Seward Community Health Center, located at 417 First Ave.

Several Seward businesses have closed their doors in response to the outbreak, including the Yukon Bar, the Seward Alehouse, Seward Brewing Company, The Cookery, The Tufted Puffin, Tony’s Bar and the Lone Chicharron, the city said.

One of the Seward residents who tested positive this week identified himself on Facebook as Tyson Davis, a member of Seward-based band Blackwater Railroad Company and employee of the Seward Alehouse.

“I thought I was taking precautions and being safe but apparently not enough,” Davis said on Facebook. “Though we had already cancelled all of our BWRR shows for the rest of the summer.. I was still too late. I’m cancelling all my shows for the forseeable future. I don’t mean to alarm any one with this post but I felt obligated to let my community know as soon as I found out. … Please be safe.”

Alaska’s Department of Health and Social Services reported 30 new cases on Friday and 27 new cases of COVID-19 on Saturday, bringing the state’s total to 1,029 — 854 residents and 175 nonresidents.

A total of 105,581 tests for COVID-19 have been done in Alaska as of Saturday’s report, for a three-day average positivity rate of .98%. The positivity rate has risen slightly this week but has remained below 1% since May.

Of the 27 cases reported Saturday, 19 are residents of nine communities: Anchorage (10), Wasilla (two), Bethel (one), Fairbanks (one), Juneau (one), Kenai (one), Seward (one), Willow (one) and the Yukon-Koyukuk Census Area (one).

Eight of the new cases are nonresidents: two in the Anchorage Municipality, two in the Dillingham Census Area, one in the Bristol Bay plus Lake and Peninsula Borough, one in the Fairbanks North Star Borough, one in the Valdez-Cordova Census Area and one in the Juneau City and Borough.

The Kenai Peninsula Borough currently has 41 active resident cases in the following communities: Anchor Point (one), Fritz Creek (one), Homer (18), Kenai (one), Nikiski (one), other north (one), other south (10), Seward (four) and Soldotna (four). There is also one active case of a nonresident in Seward. Statewide, there are 319 active resident cases and 128 active nonresident cases.

Cases within communities of fewer than 1,000 people are included in the count for their borough or census area but not individually listed. Cases on the Kenai Peninsula are separated between north and south, using the north border of South Peninsula Hospital’s service area as the dividing line.

Two additional deaths of residents were reported Friday. The deaths occurred in May outside of Alaska, but are being recorded as Juneau residents, according to a Friday press release from DHSS. Both were living in long-term care facilities in separate states when they died.

“We are saddened by the loss of these two Alaskans and are thinking of their loved ones and families as they continue to mourn,” Alaska’s Chief Medical Officer Dr. Anne Zink said in the press release. “I also want to remind Alaskans to buckle down on prevention. As case counts continue to rise in Alaska, we must be diligent about keeping six feet away from others, wearing a cloth face covering when you’re out in public, washing your hands often and isolating and calling a health care provider to ask about testing if you’re experiencing even mild COVID-19 symptoms.”

For the latest information on the state’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic, visit covid19.alaska.gov or email covidquestions@alaska.gov.

Data for this report was taken from Alaska’s Coronavirus Response Hub, which is updated daily at noon based on reports from the previous day.

Reach reporter Brian Mazurek at bmazurek@peninsulaclarion.com.

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