Silver Bay said in a statement that the three processors were chartered out of Naknek and received further care in Anchorage.
The state reported seven new cases of COVID-19 in Bristol Bay Borough on June 19, sparking rumors of an outbreak at one of the processing plants.
However, those seven cases were actually positive results from the whole week, not the single-day count for the borough. A downed ethernet connection at the state reporting service resulted in a backlog of locally-reported positives, according to Mary Swain, director of the Camai Community Health Center in Naknek. She says one of the positive results was from Sunday June 14, three were from June 16, and three were from June 17.
Silver Bay Seafoods has confirmed that at least two of the borough’s backlogged results were from Silver Bay’s processing plant in Naknek. Silver Bay had an additional positive test result on June 13, before the ethernet outage.
“During routine testing, we received 3 confirmed positive test results for asymptomatic processing workers who were in quarantine on-site and were not in contact with the community,” said Abby Fredrick, the external affairs liaison with Silver Bay.
Fredrick said the employees were isolated and chartered out of Naknek to receive care in Anchorage. She added that Silver Bay conducted additional testing of staff on site and that all of those results came back negative.
According to Fredrick, the first case tested positive on June 13, was then isolated and left Naknek the next day. The two others tested positive on June 17 and were isolated and flown to Anchorage June 18.
Read Silver Bay's full statement here:
“Silver Bay Seafoods has a robust testing and screening program that goes above and beyond state mandates to ensure the protection of our employees and our fellow Alaskans. This protocol includes routine testing before traveling to Naknek as well as testing once at the plant to supplement the quarantine.
During routine testing, we received 3 confirmed positive test results for asymptomatic processing workers who were in quarantine on-site and were not in contact with the community. These employees were isolated and removed from Naknek via private charter flight and are receiving follow up care in Anchorage.
The protocol worked as intended and ensured we caught these possible cases early. Out of an abundance of caution, we conducted additional testing of staff on site and received negative results for those employees.
SBS will continue to use all tools at our disposal to ensure we are protecting employees and communities.”
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