A sign at Petersburg’s airport directs travelers to the website for Petersburg Medical Center. (Joe Viechnicki/KFSK)

Local health officials are renewing their call for people in Petersburg to get tested after travel or with any symptoms after reporting additional COVID cases over the weekend.

The Petersburg Medical Center reported the active case count was at eight Monday morning, August 30, with nine new cases since last Monday. Most of those are Petersburg residents. Only one is a non-resident. All are related to travel. Two cases were reported on Saturday, two on Friday, one on Thursday and two on Wednesday. Those bring the total number of COVID positives in the community since the start of the pandemic to 219, around six and a half percent of the total population.

The medical center asks anyone traveling to Petersburg or returning to Petersburg to test upon arrival and again a week later or if symptoms show up. That’s regardless of vaccination status.

“That’s how we’re catching cases as people are coming into town,” said state public health nurse Erin Michael on a radio show Monday. “So I want to thank everyone that has tested when they return back to Petersburg because you’re helping to protect our community by catching these infections quicker so that we’re not spreading it around.”

The medical center will continue with free testing for anyone in the community from 9 a.m. to noon this Thursday and next, at PMC’s respiratory clinic next to public health. Travel testing is available in the emergency room area Monday through Saturday from noon to 4 p.m.

The school district will put out information if there are cases among staff or students, likely on the district’s One Call system and email.

The goal is to keep the buildings open and really over the district open, to the best extent that we can with staffing and with numbers,” said superintendent Erica Kludt-Painter on a radio show Monday. “If there’s cases we’re going to try to work within just those specific close contacts while still maintaining the building being open and hopefully even the classes being open to the best extent that we possibly can.”

Parents should notify the district if a student tests positive and students should, of course, stay home with any symptoms.

Petersburg and nearly all of the state are at high alert levels for COVID spread according to the state’s dashboard. And numbers are spiking up elsewhere in Southeast. On Friday Alaska’s Department of Health and Social Services reported 14 new positives in Wrangell, 28 in Juneau and 13 in Ketchikan.