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Ketchikan community shares concerns over spread of coronavirus

(KTUU)
Published: Mar. 24, 2020 at 7:46 PM AKDT
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The Ketchikan Emergency Operations Center announced new confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Ketchikan Tuesday, bringing the total number of cases in Ketchikan to nine.

The spread is concerning to community members and officials there, considering the first case was announced last week.

“We have three grocery stores, a post office, a community recreation center and you can imagine that everyone in the community goes to those locations several times a week, that’s my concern,” said Carol Dooley, owner of Alaska Sport Fishing Adventures, LLC.

On top of worry over the spread, Dooley adds to her concerns being an owner of a fishing charter company catering to cruise ship passengers.

“It would be a very busy time usually, but unfortunately, the phone’s not ringing,” she said. “Not much going on.”

A business doing a bit better is Madison Lumber and Hardware. They consider themselves an essential business and have been keeping their doors open with added safety measures.

“There’s some hysteria but for the most part people have been calm,” said Janice Walker, general manager with the shop. “We’re catching bits of conversation about that, like, Woah, I was in the business the same day. Do I need to worry? And nobody knows.”

According to Abner Hoage, the fire chief and emergency manager for the City and Borough, the first six cases in the community were closely linked to one another.

“I don’t think people really understand exponential spread,” he said. “From our first case, we had that spread to four from that first contact.”

I think the people of Ketchikan are taking it very seriously,” said Rodney Dial, Ketchikan Gateway Borough Mayor. “I think people are hopeful and we’ll be able to limit the spread.”

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