Dillingham reports 12 cases of COVID-19 among seafood workers

The City of Dillingham has a 14-day self-quarantine mandate in place. (Sam Gardner/KDLG)

Twelve seafood workers in Dillingham have tested positive for COVID-19 while under quarantine, the Bristol Bay hub town announced late Monday. It was the largest number of positive cases reported in one day in the community so far.

“The individuals have been moved into separate isolation facilities within the company’s closed campus and additional sanitation protocols have been initiated,” the city said in a statement.

The city did not identify the seafood company, but said that it tests all incoming employees before they travel to Dillingham, and then twice during their quarantine. The employees who tested positive were on day six of quarantining and had taken their second test.

Anxiety has been high in Bristol Bay communities for months, anticipating the arrival of thousands of fishermen and seafood processing workers from Outside.

“Our worse fears are home to roost,” Robin Samuelsen, an Alaska Native leader from Dillingham, wrote in a Facebook post. “Outsiders bringing the virus to us in Dillingham.”

Dillingham Mayor Alice Ruby was more optimistic.

“While we are always concerned to hear about positive cases of COVID-19 in Dillingham, the protection plans in place caught these cases during quarantine and are helping to prevent community spread,” she said in the community’s statement.

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