Nearly the entire fishing crew of the United States Seafoods’ trawler Legacy have tested positive for COVID-19 and are isolating on the vessel in port in Unalaska.
Two of the 25 crew members tested positive for the virus last Thursday, according to the City of Unalaska, and the remaining crew were subsequently tested by staff from the local Iliuliuk Family and Health Services (IFHS) clinic.
On Friday, these results found an additional 22 individuals also tested positive for COVID-19, resulting in 24 positive cases out of the 25 crew members on board.
All crew members remain on board, with the one negative individual segregated from the remaining crew, said the City of Unalaska in an update.
Planning for next steps is in process between United States Seafoods and personnel from the IFHS Clinic and State of Alaska Public Health, it said.
“We have operated under a safety plan approved by the State of Alaska to prevent a case of COVID-19 on our vessel and have strict protocols to prevent exposure of the community, should a case arise,” said US Seafoods in a statement.
“We are working hard to ensure that those protections are maintained and effective. We are also working with our medical provider who is coordinating with the State of Alaska and the community to ensure that our crew receive the best medical care possible to address their illness and to minimize further spread of the virus among the crew.”
According to a local news report, the vessel and its crew were in the process of wrapping up their season fishing for Pacific Ocean perch in the Bering Sea, and these mark the first cases of the coronavirus for the Seattle-based company.
“This is quite a disappointment to have weathered storms of COVID all year, and to literally have this trip us up on our last day of the last port call of the season — it takes the wind out of your sails,” Dave Wood, chief operating officer of US Seafoods, told local news outlet, KTOO.
The 132-foot catcher-processor was last in Unalaska about two weeks ago and a small number of crew members left to go home, while a few new crew members joined the boat, Wood said.