DOC employee tests positive for coronavirus

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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - A Department of Corrections employee has tested positive for coronavirus, officials said in a release Thursday.

The individual who tested positive is a staff member who was working at Lemon Creek Correctional Center in Juneau, according to officials. The positive test is the first in a staff member within DOC, though the department said earlier in the week that several tests have been administered over the last few weeks.

A webpage tracking tests specifically for the department had not been updated with the positive case as of press time, but showed that 17 people had tested, with 11 negative results and 6 that were pending.

A DOC Response Plan was put into action after the department was notified of the positive test. This plan "took swift action to protect the health and welfare of inmates and staff at the facility." No further details were provided regarding the steps of the plan or what all it may have included.

“DOC has been preparing for this moment, and we have plans in place to effectively manage this situation,” said Commissioner Dahlstrom as stated in the release provided Thursday evening. “We continue to follow CDC guidelines in order to prevent the spread of the virus within our institutions.”

The department said earlier in the week that changes had been made within facilities to help staff and inmates stay safe. The frequency of cleaning practices had been increased, for example, additional hand sanitizing stations were installed and inmate workers were hired as cleaning crews. The department was also stockpiling a store of supplies in case of an outbreak.

Staff and inmates were told about the positive case late Thursday afternoon, officials said, and the DOC is "working closely with the Alaska Section of Epidemiology to facilitate the contact investigation."

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