Alaska ferry out indefinitely after crew member tests positive for COVID-19

Published: Jun. 8, 2020 at 5:15 PM AKDT
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One of Alaska's ferries is shutting down indefinitely after a crew member tested positive for COVID-19 according to the Alaska Marine Highway System (AMHS). The ship in question is Tustumena, which is making its way to Homer. A crew member tested positive for the coronavirus, and was on the ship showing mild symptoms.

"It wasn't enough that anyone else on the vessel noticed," said Department of Transportation (DOT) Communications Director Meadow Bailey. "It wasn't until they received word that they had been in contact with somebody that had tested COVID positive that they became concerned."

The DOT and the Department of Health and Social Services are conducting a joint investigation as the ship heads to Homer. The Tustumena will be out of commission due to a crew shortage, as her 35 crew members will be put into quarantine.

"The crew is doing fine, I've been in daily contact with the captain. Their spirits are good, everybody is feeling fine right now," said Captain John Falvey Jr., General Manager of AMHS. "We are staying as quarantined as we can and still run the ship. You know, as far as I'm concerned they're really doing a great job."

Alaska's Chief Medical Officer Dr. Anne Zink said that even with good precautions and protective measures, such as those that are in place on the AMHS ferries and at Alaska airports, travel during an ongoing pandemic is risky.

Copyright 2020 KTVF. All rights reserved.

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