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20 crew members on vessel in Dutch Harbor test positive for COVID-19 in latest seafood industry outbreak

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A factory trawler joined a growing list of seafood processors and vessels in Alaska’s Aleutian Islands that have experienced COVID-19 outbreaks recently.

Twenty members of the 40-member crew on the factory trawler Araho, owned by the O’Hara Corp., tested positive for the virus, the City of Unalaska said Friday.

Upon arrival in Unalaska from Seattle on Wednesday night, a couple of crew members reported symptoms of COVID-19, according to Unalaska city manager Erin Reinders, who said testing began when the vessel arrived. She said there’s a plan being developed to coordinate care of people who tested positive and what to do with the others.

On Thursday, five cases were confirmed among workers on another vessel — the Island Enterprise, a catcher processor owned by Trident Seafoods. The Island Enterprise left Dutch Harbor and was headed to Seward on Friday afternoon, Reinders said.

In addition to vessel outbreaks, multiple shore processors in the Aleutians have been shut down as well, including North America’s largest processing plant, which is operated by Trident and located in remote Akutan. In total, 266 of the roughly 705 workers at the remote plant had tested positive for the virus as of Thursday.

ln Unalaska, an Alyeska Seafoods plant and a UniSea plant are both closed because of COVID-19. The total number of seafood industry-related cases of COVID-19 in Unalaska is 57, Reinders said, which includes the 20 people who tested positive on the Araho.

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