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

The Petersburg Medical Center has announced seven new COVID cases over the weekend. Five cases are local residents currently in another Alaska community and two cases are residents here in town. Contact tracing is underway. In a press release, health officials say there is concern for significant community spread, especially from indoor gatherings where people have not been masking or observing distancing.

The current active case number in Petersburg (as of Oct. 12) is 16 cases. That’s down from a peak of 39 cases just over a week ago.

PMC is providing free asymptomatic COVID testing this week from 9 a.m. to noon on Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday.

People with symptoms can always get free testing by calling the COVID information line at 772-5788.

Also, free testing for travelers is available Monday through Saturday from noon to 4 p.m. at PMC. Enter through the emergency room entrance on 2nd Street.