Cooke-owned Icicle Seafoods has reported two cases of Covid-19 in Unalaska, Alaska, the first reported cases in the remote town.
The two individuals, both male, one age 40-49 and one age 50-59, have been in quarantine in Unalaska since arriving seven days ago and have now been moved to isolation following the positive tests.
Both employees reportedly tested negative for the coronavirus before transfer in Seattle and are asymptomatic.
"Upon learning of the two positive cases, Icicle immediately enacted our isolation protocol for the employees and our cleaning and satiation protocol as per our community and workforce protection plan," said Icicle Seafoods General Manager of Western Operations Chris Pugmire.
"Although we tested our employees prior to travel to Unalaska, we were prepared for the event of a positive case."
"While confirmation of the first positive cases of Covid-19 in our community is concerning, the parties involved did everything correctly," said Melanee Tiura, CEO at Iliuliuk Family and Health Services Clinic and health care consultant to Unalaska's Unified Command.
The positive cases were identified as part of the employer's testing protocols, which were put in place specifically to protect Icicle's workforce and our community."
Unalaska is home to Dutch Harbor, a seafood hub that houses numerous processing facilities, including those belonging to Westward Seafoods, Alyeska Seafoods and Unisea. It is also home to Icicle's processing vessel Northern Victor.
The cases add to a spate of infections among seafood industry workers in the state, which now totals 17.
Seattle-based Trident Seafoods on Monday temporarily closed its processing plant located at Bellingham Cold Storage's (BCS) Squalicum Harbor facility in Bellingham, Washington, north of Seattle, a source with knowledge of the event told IntraFish.
The move was prompted by news Monday that officials at BCS are testing 13 employees for Covid-19. The employees work along a dock area used by American Seafood’s American Dynasty, which on Sunday confirmed 86 crew members aboard the factory trawler, which was offloading Pacific hake and preparing to leave for the opening of Alaska’s “B” pollock season on June 10, tested positive for Covid-19.
The boat is now in lockdown at the Port of Seattle.