SEATTLE — A Seattle-based seafood company has reported that four workers at its Alaska seafood plant tested positive for COVID-19, including one who was taken to a hospital.
Trident Seafoods reported that the four employees were all roommates and have returned to work after undergoing a 14-day quarantine and testing negative, The Seattle Times reported.
The company said in a statement on Monday that it is assessing any potential operational impacts of COVID-19 spreading at the facility. Currently, the company is holding off on sending an additional 365 workers to the plant.
The Trident Seafoods’ plant is a processing center for Bering Sea harvests of pollock, crab and cod in Akutan, about 750 miles (1,200 kilometers) southwest of Anchorage. The plant is the company’s largest Alaska location. It currently employs about 700 workers.
“Health and safety are our absolute priority,” Trident Chief Executive Director Joe Bundrant said.
Trident is the largest harvesting and processing company in North America. The Akutan plant has operated as a closed facility with no contact allowed with other residents in response to the pandemic, Bundrant said.
Bundrant said the company has spent a large amount on quarantine-related costs for hotels, food and wages. He said about 4,500 company employees have gone through a two-week lockdown.
Company spokesperson Stefanie Moreland said the company is considering increasing testing and isolating some workers most at risk. She also said an investigation will look for gaps in protocols that could have resulted in the positive cases.
For most people, the coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough that clear up in two to three weeks. For some — especially older adults and people with existing health problems — it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia, and death.