UNALASKA, Alaska (AP) — A factory fishing vessel that docked in the Alaska fishing port of Dutch Harbor in the Aleutian Islands has 85 crew members infected on board with the coronavirus, officials said.
The American Triumph was scheduled to depart the Dutch Harbor community of Unalaska late Sunday or early Monday with a planned arrival in Seward Wednesday, Alaska’s Energy Deck reported Sunday.
The ship will carry crew members who tested positive and medical personnel. Crew are expected to be moved from Seward to an isolation location in Anchorage for further care and monitoring.
The 85 infected workers represent more than two-thirds of the crew on the ship owned by Seattle-based American Seafoods Group LLC, one of the biggest firms in the billion-dollar Bering Sea pollock fishery.
The Triumph arrived in Unalaska Thursday with seven crew members reporting symptoms consistent with COVID-19 infection.
The seven workers tested positive, leading to virus screening of the remaining 112 crew by Unalaska clinic Iliuliuk Family and Health Services.
All crew members were restricted to the vessel or isolation locations while the ship was docked in Unalaska, city officials said.
Unalaska is the largest community in Alaska without a critical access hospital, and the nearest emergency room is almost 1,000 miles (1,609 kilometers) away in Anchorage.
American Seafoods staffed the ship with an additional paramedic to assist crew members during the sailing, while the vessel plans to hug the coast for easier evacuation if necessary, said Melanee Tiura, chief executive of the Iliuliuk clinic.
“There are exit strategies if that additional level of care is needed,” Tirua said.
For most people, the coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough that clear up in two to three weeks. But for some — especially older adults and people with existing health problems — it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia and death.
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