A factory trawler joined a growing list of fish processors and vessels in Alaska’s Aleutian Islands that have recently experienced COVID-19 outbreaks.
Twenty members of the 40-person crew of the factory trawler Araho, belonging to O’Hara Corp. Heard tested positive for the virus on Friday, according to the city of Unalaska.
Upon arriving in Unalaska from Seattle Wednesday night, some crew members reported symptoms of COVID-19, according to Erin Reinders, Unalaska’s city manager, who said the tests began with the ship’s arrival. She said a plan was being developed to coordinate care for people who test positive and what to do with others.
Five cases were confirmed Thursday among workers on another ship – the Island Enterprise, a catcher processor from Trident Seafoods. The Island Enterprise left Dutch Harbor for Seward Friday afternoon, Reinders said.
In addition to ship breakouts, several land processors have also been decommissioned in the Aleutian Islands, including North America’s largest processing facility, operated by Trident and located in remote Akutan. A total of 266 of the 705 workers in the remote facility had tested positive for the virus by Thursday.
In Unalaska, an Alyeska Seafoods facility and a UniSea facility are closed due to COVID-19. The total number of cases of COVID-19 in the Unalaska fishing industry is 57, Reinders said, including the 20 people who tested positive for the araho.