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AMHS limiting spread of virus on board ferries


Caleb Vierkant/ Wrangell Sentinel

The M/V Matanuska stopped in Wrangell last Sunday evening. This is the first stop by an AMHS ferry in Wrangell in several months. Donald Templin, with the Alaska Marine Highway, said that the last ferry to stop in Wrangell was on January 25, also the Matanuska. The ferry system has faced many struggles in recent history, including budget cuts, a strike, and an aging fleet. The COVID-19 pandemic has also led to several new safety guidelines for workers and travelers to follow. Among these protocols, according to the Alaska Marine Highway website, includes limited passenger capacities, crew screenings, and passenger screenings for long voyages. The Matanuska arrived from Ketchikan, according to the schedule on the AMHS website, and departed for Petersburg later that evening.

The M/V Matanuska arrived in Wrangell Sunday evening during its first voyage of the season out of Bellingham, but that same day a passenger onboard the M/V Kennicott, which left Bellingham on June 27, tested positive for COVID-19.

The protocols that the Alaska Marine Highway System has in place to prevent the spread of the virus seem to have limited the infection to the one individual who only had one other close contact, according to a press release issued by the Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities.

"This is an example of everyone doing everything right," said Anne Z...

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