Silver Bay Seafoods is working to improve its initial coronavirus mitigation plan described as "naive" and "unrealistic" by the chief medical officer for the Southeast Alaska Regional Health Consortium.
Company CEO Cora Campbell told IntraFish on Thursday that she believes his comments to be based on a preliminary early draft outlining minimum measures.
The doctor slammed a set of measures drawn up by the company, saying the relocation of 450 workers from other US states and Mexico to Silver Bay Seafoods' Sitka processing facility for the opening of the Alaska salmon season, was "contradictory to medical reason," the impacts of which could be "catastrophic."
Elliot Bruhl, who has practiced in Sitka and other communities for over 20 years, has asked the state of Alaska to stop the migration, which is deemed essential to the success of the state's wild salmon season.
"We care deeply about the health, safety, and economy of this community - Sitka is home for this company," Campbell told IntraFish in an email.
"From the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic we have been engaging with health care professionals, community and government officials, and seafood industry representatives to build extensive plans focused on protecting communities and our workforce from Covid-19."
The latest draft of Silver Bay's draft action plan was made available on the City of Sitka's website April 14 and includes measures such as 14-day quarantines and daily health checks for workers pre-arrival in Alaska, as well as containment at the company's living quarters for the duration of the season.
"We are currently working to improve the initial plan in light of information and resources that have subsequently become available, and we will have a final plan in place prior to movement of any processing workers into the community of Sitka," said Campbell, adding that it will be consistent with, if not exceed, the guidance and mandates issued by the state of Alaska and US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
"Due to the extremely fluid situation with the virus, testing availability, and a number of other factors, we plan to continue to develop and revise our procedures over the next several months before salmon season begins. Our plans are public and we welcome dialogue and review with state officials and local leaders."