Cordova has first coronavirus case

Transmission electron micrograph of a coronavirus particle isolated from a patient. (Feb. 29, 2020) Photo courtesy of NIAID

Cordova has recorded its first case of the coronavirus, officials confirmed Wednesday, May 6. An Ocean Beauty cannery employee who flew into Cordova from outside Alaska on Thursday, April 30 tested positive for the coronavirus. The individual, who showed no symptoms, was tested during routine screening while under quarantine with his employer, according to a release by the city of Cordova.

The individual and Ocean Beauty are in close contact with the city and healthcare providers, Mayor Clay Koplin said in the release. The State of Alaska Department of Health and Social Services is getting in touch with people who may have had interactions with the individual.

“Knowing how quickly and easily COVID-19 spreads, we knew it was only a matter of time until it reached our city,” Mayor Clay Koplin said. “We have a team of experts who has been working for months to address a scenario like this. We are ready, have implemented the plan and are actively working to keep our community safe.”

Ocean Beauty’s Cordova plant has implemented a series of anti-coronavirus workplace practices, wrote Brian O’Leary, Cordova manager for Ocean Beauty, in an April 17 statement. These include operating their facility as a closed campus; requiring employees to wear face coverings except during meals; staggering meal breaks and coffee breaks; and prohibiting employees from congregating.

Local health care providers are now offering free drive-up coronavirus testing for out-of-state arrivals, according to a May 6 release. The tests will be available Mondays and Wednesdays, 2-4 p.m., at Ilanka Community Health Center, and Tuesdays and Thursdays, 2-4 p.m. at the Cordova Community Medical Center ambulance bay. Individuals who have arrived from outside Alaska within the previous 14 days will be eligible, according to the release. Patients are requested to call ahead to register for this service.

Local health care providers have the capacity to test 1,118 people, according to data published Tuesday, May 5 by the city.