Fishermen may come into town for essential reasons during quarantine period

Fishing vessels docked in Cordova Harbor. (April 29, 2020) Photo by Zachary Snowdon Smith/The Cordova Times

Case counts of the number of Alaskans infected by the novel coronavirus pandemic continue to rise on a single-digit basis, with three new cases reported on Sunday, May 3, bringing the statewide total to 368, with 262 people now recovered.

The new cases for the 24-hour period ending at midnight May 2 include two in Anchorage, plus one in Homer.

To date there have been no reports of COVID-19 infections in Cordova, where everyone coming into town is required to immediately self-quarantine for 14 days.

Since the count began, a total of 36 people have been hospitalized and nine have succumbed to the virus.  Twelve people currently remain hospitalized with the virus.

A total of 21,578 of the state’s approximate 731,545 residents have been tested to date.

On an international level, more than 3.1 million people have been infected, with 218,179 dead and another 961,860 recovered. In the U.S alone the number of infected has reached over 1 million people, with more than 59,000 deaths, and upwards of 142,000 recovered.


Cordova Mayor Clay Koplin said that fishermen in the area for the Copper River salmon fishery, which opens in mid-May, may go into town for essential reasons during their 14-day quarantine.

Also, if they have no symptoms or violations of that quarantine for 14 days then they will have the same freedom as residents. Still, if they violate general health mandates established by the community, go to another community and come back, have a new crew member come aboard, or develop symptoms, that quarantine clock starts over.

An emergency order to delay the reopening of many businesses in Cordova until May 20 remains in effect at this time, and may or may not be lifted, Koplin said. The issue will come before the Cordova City Council at 6 p.m. Wednesday, May 6.

The state’s Legislative budget and audit committee voted Friday to authorize $125 million in federal funding from the CARES (Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security) Act, and efforts are underway to get those funds out to a variety of areas adversely impacted by the pandemic.

Rep. Chris Tuck, D-Anchorage, said that action was a significant first step and the committee is working overtime to review Gov. Mike Dunleavy’s revised proposal on use of those funds.

The package includes $29 million for rural transportation costs, including the Alaska Marine Highway System, plus $42 million for child nutrition programs, $45 million for K-12 education, $5 million for the University of Alaska, and $3.6 million for state and local law enforcement.

The committee’s next meeting is set for 1 p.m. Wednesday, May 6.