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2 crew members on state ferry test positive for COVID-19

An Alaska Marine Highway System ferry.
An Alaska Marine Highway System ferry.
Published: Apr. 19, 2021 at 8:16 PM AKDT
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - Two crew members on the state ferry Matanuska have tested positive for COVID-19, state officials said in a Monday press release, after leaving Washington state for Ketchikan.

There were no close contacts between the two crew members and any of the passengers, according to the release from the Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities.

One Matanuska crew member “began showing symptoms of COVID-19″ on Saturday after the ferry departed Bellingham, Washington en route to Ketchikan. According to the release, the ship’s captain quarantined that crew member. The ventilation system for their cabin was turned off. That crew member tested positive for COVID-19 on Sunday when the vessel arrived in Ketchikan.

From there, the Alaska Marine Highway System coordinated with the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services and Ketchikan officials to conduct additional testing and contact tracing, which revealed one additional positive case among a second crew member, according to the release.

Both crew members will remain isolated for a minimum of 10 days, according to DOT — the first in a Ketchikan hotel and the second onboard the Matanuska while it sailed to Juneau. The second crew member was set to disembark the ferry when it arrived in Juneau Monday night and finish isolating at home.

The rest of the crew will be tested again in Ketchikan on Wednesday, DOT wrote in the release.

The Matanuska’s departure from Ketchikan was delayed by the incident for about 11 hours, the release states. AMHS found a replacement crew to staff the ship and it left Sunday evening. The ferry was expected to be back on its regular schedule when it departs Juneau Monday night, according to the DOT.

All passengers affected by the delay were notified and rebooked or refunded, the release states. The Matanuska is one of 10 ferries operated by the DOT.

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