Sea Level operates in at Heritage Harbor in Wrangell. The plant is part of Pacific Seafood, based in Oregon. (June Leffler/ KSTK.

A local seafood processor says it’s staffed for this summer’s crab and salmon seasons. Workers so far have tested negative for COVID-19. 

Sea Level’s local plant manager Rocky Caldero says he’s brought 26 seasonal workers to town this month, though a few more will trickle in. Caldero says he is not authorized to talk on tape.

To comply with its COVID-19 mitigation plan filed with the state, out of town, seasonal workers have been placed in a modified quarantine. Caldero explained they are working at the plant in shifts according to the timing of their arrival. These groups work and eat together but do not intermingle with other groups, including locally based employees inside the plant. 

Out-of-state workers will not be permitted to leave the plant or their bunkhouses until 14 days after their arrival. Social distancing will be enforced throughout the season. 

Caldero says each plant worker will be tested for COVID-19 four times before their quarantine is up. The City of Wrangell has allocated up to $60,000 of its federal CARES Act funding to pay for the testing. 

Caldero says his visiting staff stay on until the end of August or beginning of September. 

Wrangell’s other seafood plant, owned by Trident Seafoods, will not be running this summer, the company said, citing a poor salmon run forecast. 

Four positive cases have been confirmed in Wrangell. Two of these cases were identified through airport testing. 

As of Wednesday, SEARHC says it’s tested at least 1,157 people in Wrangell. But 171 tests are still pending.