JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — A staff member at a state-run prison in Juneau tested positive for COVID-19, the Department of Corrections said.

The department, in a release, said it learned of the positive test Thursday. It said this is the first staff member within the department to test positive.

Spokeswoman Sarah Gallagher said by email Friday that to date, no inmates within the state’s corrections system had tested positive. A department website showed several cases pending.

The City and Borough of Juneau, citing the department, said two inmates at the Lemon Creek Correctional Center have been tested and that inmates and staff at the facility have been given cloth face coverings.

A presentation from the state’s chief medical officer, Dr. Anne Zink, on Friday showed the Department of Corrections had recently purchased 38 sewing machines to be distributed to correctional institutions as part of a face mask project. The goal is to produce 40,00 masks within 12 days for distribution to corrections staff, inmates and other state employees, according to the presentation.

As of Friday morning, the state had reported nearly 250 known cases of COVID-19, including 11 new cases. The state has reported seven COVID-19-related deaths.


The coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms for most people. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness or death.

Meanwhile, a tweet from Attorney General Kevin Clarkson’s account inviting Alaskans to join Gov. Mike Dunleavy’s livestream of a prayer event related to the coronavirus included a link to a group seeking to recall Dunleavy. The tweet was subsequently deleted. A message seeking comment was left for a Department of Law spokeswoman.

The state elections director, in November, cited an attorney general opinion in rejecting the recall application. A judge later decided the recall effort could proceed. The case currently is before the Alaska Supreme Court.