12 Cases of COVID-19 detected at Sullivan Arena on Sept 3

Positive cases were isolated within hours and contact tracing is underway
Published: Sep. 5, 2020 at 9:54 PM AKDT
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - Bean’s Cafe has reported 12 new cases of COVID-19 found during mass testing at the emergency shelter in the Sullivan Arena.

The tests were done September 1, shortly after the news of an outbreak at Brother Francis Shelter was announced. When results came in on the 3rd, the Cathleen McLaughlin, the shelter’s director, said they quickly worked to isolate them.

“Ten of them were taken off site within an hour of us being told that they were COVID positive, and the other two were located [six hours] later and taken off site,” she said.

Then they began internal contact tracing, looking specifically at those who slept near the positive cases.

“We will take everybody around an individual, who has slept in a cot around them and identify them and then quarantine them on-site to determine whether they should be transported,” McLaughlin said.

Anyone who tested positive, or spent enough time near someone who tested positive will be transported off-site to quarantine locations designated by the Emergency Operations Center.

“We define significant contact as being in the shelter for 15 minutes or more within a 10 foot radius of someone who doesn’t have a mask on who ultimately is deemed positive,” McLaughlin said.

She added the shelter is also keeping track of people staying at other shelters to minimize cross-contact.

“We will not admit people that are coming from other shelters that were on the COVID-positive list unless they can show us that they have tested negative on a COVID test,” she said.

Finally, they’re continuing frequent tests to identify any new cases that may come up.

“At this point, we do tests once a week,” McLaughlin said. “We vary the time of the test so that we can grab as many unique individuals as possible and we test both clients and staff.”

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