(JUNEAU, Alaska) – Today, the M/V Tustumena continued its return voyage to Homer. The vessel has 41 people on board, six passengers and 35 crewmembers, including the one crewmember who tested positive for COVID-19 in Dutch Harbor on Saturday. Passengers and crew are separated from each other. The COVID-19 positive crewmember is isolated and the 16 additional crewmembers who were determined to be in close contact with the positive crewmember are quarantining.
The health and safety of Alaska Marine Highway System passengers (AMHS) and staff is the first priority. Once the Tustumena docks in Homer, COVID-19 tests will be administered to passengers and crew on board the vessel. Results are anticipated to take approximately 24 hours. Those who test negative will return directly to their homes where they will quarantine for 14 days. Those who test positive will consult with public health nurses and the Alaska Section of Epidemiology to determine the best course of action for care and isolation from others to prevent any further transmission of COVID-19. The vessel will be thoroughly sanitized; it will then sit for three days with minimal staff and no passengers. After that, a full replacement staff will come on board and relieve the minimal staff.
Sailings for the Tustumena are canceled indefinitely. As of last night, AMHS planned to resume service Saturday, June 13, but is faced with a crew shortage as 35 crewmembers from the Tustumena go into quarantine. All AMHS passengers who are impacted by the canceled sailings are being notified. If you have questions about reservations, please visit www.FerryAlaska.com or contact the AMHS reservation call center by dialing 1-907-465-3941 or toll-free at 1-800-642-0066.
Over the past months, AMHS has worked with the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services (DHSS) to develop mitigation protocols to reduce the spread of COVID-19. These protocols were put in place last week and include passenger screening, reduced passenger numbers to facilitate social distancing, recommendations of face coverings for all and frequent sanitization on board and in terminals. AMHS will continue to work with DHSS to review the current mitigation protocols and make any necessary adjustments for the safety of passengers and crewmembers.
The Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities oversees 237 airports, 10 ferries serving 35 communities, more than 5,600 miles of highway and 776 public facilities throughout the state of Alaska. The mission of the department is to “Keep Alaska Moving through service and infrastructure.”
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