This transmission electron microscope image shows SARS-CoV-2—also known as 2019-nCoV, the virus that causes COVID-19—isolated from a patient in the U.S. Virus particles are shown emerging from the surface of cells cultured in the lab. The spikes on the outer edge of the virus particles give coronaviruses their name, crown-like. Image captured and colorized at NIAID’s Rocky Mountain Laboratories (RML) in Hamilton, Montana. Credit: NIAID

Three new COVID cases were identified in Petersburg Tuesday. That brings the total active case count to 12. Only one of the cases is traveled related and the rest are community spread.

According to the Petersburg Medical Center, they don’t know the source of exposure for the community cases. PMC says contact tracing is hampered by the high number of new cases across the state. People with COVID are urged to notify their own contacts and those contacts should stay home and monitor themselves for symptoms.

As of this Wednesday morning, there were only four COVID tests pending at PMC.

Contact tracing is ongoing. Alaska Public Health is contact tracing for people outside of the school setting but the Petersburg School District is responsible within the schools. That started in late August when school districts were notified by the Department of Education that they would be involved in identifying and notifying close contacts of positive Covid cases in the schools. That’s due to the increased number of positive cases in the state overall.

So, Public Health will not be interviewing and monitoring school identified close contacts in these situations. They will still interview all positive cases and any close contacts outside of the school setting.

In a social media post, the school district stressed that this is different than how things were done last year, so they appreciate people’s continued patience as they work through this.

PMC testing information:

• Travel Testing Monday through Saturday from Noon – 4:00 pm, ER entrance.

• Asymptomatic Testing Thursday, September 23 from 9:00 – Noon, at PMC, next door to Public Health

• Symptomatic testing or post contact testing available by appointment, call the COVID Information line at 907-772-5788.