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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: August 14, 2020
Press Release: 20-0056
Contact: Sam Dapcevich, sam.dapcevich@alaska.gov, (907) 465-4503

AMHS Passengers Test Positive for COVID-19
No other passengers or crew identified as close contacts

(JUNEAU, Alaska) — Yesterday afternoon, recent passengers on the Alaska Marine Highway System (AMHS) alerted AMHS that they had tested positive for COVID-19. The Alaska Department of Health and Social Services (DHSS) believes that these passengers were likely infectious while on the vessel. AMHS is notifying the public out of an abundance of caution.

The passengers boarded M/V Matanuska in Kake on the morning of August 10, passed through Sitka around 11 a.m. the same day, and arrived in Juneau at 11 p.m.

The Matanuska arrived in Bellingham, Washington this morning, and the crew will receive testing before its northbound departure.
This is an ongoing epidemiological investigation, but at this time DHSS has not identified any close contacts among other passengers or crew. AMHS requires all passengers and crew to follow protocols to reduce the transmission of COVID-19. Protocols include testing before departure on lengthy sailings, mandatory face coverings, social distancing, limiting the number of passengers permitted on the vessels, and frequent and thorough cleaning of our ships. These protocols are detailed here.

DHSS is recommending that recent travelers on the Matanuska monitor themselves for symptoms and take extra care to follow COVID-19 precautions recommended for all Alaskans including:

  • Wearing a mask/face covering when in public.
  • Minimizing exposure to others by maintaining at least 6 feet of distance from non-household members at all times.
  • Avoiding crowded places where distance cannot be maintained.
  • Self-monitoring for symptoms and getting tested for COVID-19 if any symptoms arise.

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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