UPDATE: One positive case in Petersburg has been identified as a person who was fully vaccinated. The Petersburg Medical Center announced the following breakdown of numbers Wednesday afternoon:
Earlier Report Wednesday:
Petersburg’s COVID cases continue to climb from an outbreak that appears to have begun last week. There were 36 positive cases as of this morning at 8 a.m. The positivity rate of those being tested is 9.3 percent.
Petersburg has 3,000 residents located on Mitkof Island in Southeast Alaska.
Case numbers are growing daily with many residents calling the local COVID hotline with symptoms, according to the Petersburg Medical Center. A contact tracing team from the State of Alaska has been dedicated to the community. They are asking residents to answer the phone when they call and to cooperate with testing.
Medical center leadership said Tuesday that staff is working around the clock. They have had two hospitalizations for patients with COVID, who have both been treated successfully. They had given monoclonal antibody treatments to five patients as of Tuesday afternoon and have more doses if needed. PMC has ventilators but said they would likely send patients out to Seattle or Anchorage for that treatment. The medical center has increased its asymptomatic testing efforts, offering it to anyone through an airport testing tent from 7:30 to 10 a.m. Monday through Friday.
No one who has been fully vaccinated has been positive. Fully vaccinated means they’ve had their shots plus a two week window for immunity. A few people who have had just their first shot of the vaccine have been positive.
Two medical center staff persons tested positive as part of the outbreak along with a staff person at the elementary school. The school district began remote learning for all students on Tuesday. The district’s three schools have been in-person for most of the school year.
Petersburg Borough buildings are closed to the public including the recreation center and pool.
The Petersburg Emergency Operations Center is recommending that all non-essential businesses close for the time being. They’re asking all essential businesses to start curb-side service and stagger staffing. Travel is not recommended unless it’s critical. The EOC is asking residents to adhere to the local masking mandate.
People told to quarantine through contact tracing can go outside for fresh air if they are not around others. They need to stay separated from others in their household and use separate bathrooms if possible.
75 COVID tests were pending in Petersburg as of this morning.