Alaska Protective Plan for Independent Commercial Fishing Vessels Issued: April 23, 2020
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- Documentation. Vessel captains are required to maintain a ship’s log as a written or time-stamped electronic document covering, at a minimum, the following information:
- An acknowledgement of the requirements of this Mandate and an explicit description of which protective plan (State Mandate 017 or fleet-wide plan) they are enacting and enforcing on the vessel.
- Certification that crew members have been screened upon arrival in accordance with Paragraph III.
- Certification when crewmembers have completed self-quarantine in accordance with Paragraph IV.
- In the event of a sick crewmember, documentation of the information required in Paragraph VII.c.iii.
For the 2020 season, each independent vessel captain must sign the Health Mandate 017 Acknowledgement Form (Appendix 02) prior to actively participating in the 2020 commercial fishing season. This form will indicate that the captain and owner will comply with the Mandate.
Prior to accepting any fish, or making any payment for fish to an independent fishing vessel, a tender or processor must receive and confirm a signed copy of the vessel’s Acknowledgement Form. The vessel captain must submit a copy of the Acknowledgement Form the first time they sell fish to a tender or processor. Subsequent sales to the same tender or processor do not require submission of another copy of the Acknowledgement Form (e.g., the form only needs to be submitted once, per fishing season, per tender or processor), but every tender or processor that an independent commercial fishing vessel sells to must have, and retain until December 31, 2020, a signed copy of the Acknowledgement Form. This form shall be provided to the Alaska Department of Fish and Game upon request.
By accepting the Acknowledgement Form, the tender or processor may rely upon the submission of the Acknowledgement Form as proof of compliance of Health Mandate 017 and Appendix 01. The tender or processor is not required to confirm compliance with Health Mandate 017 and Appendix 01, other than to collect the Acknowledgment Form, and assumes no liability for any failure to comply by any independent commercial fishing vessels.
- Travel Procedures.
- All crewmembers in transit on commercial or chartered aircraft must wear a cloth face covering that meets the recommendations contained in Health Alert 010. This face covering must be worn while transiting air terminals (to be temporarily removed for security screening), while on the plane, and any follow-on ground transportation until they reach their self-quarantine facility (e.g., bunkhouse, vessel or private lodging).
- Crewmembers shall clean or dispose of face coverings in accordance with Health Alert 010.
- b. Crewmembers in transit shall carry documentation from the vessel or company indicating that they are an essential Critical Infrastructure Worker as defined under State Health Mandates.
- c. Arriving crewmembers must proceed directly to the vessel or their designated self-quarantine location, must practice social distancing and avoid interaction with the community, and may not stop at any location between arrival at the local airport and transport to the vessel or self-quarantine location.
III. Self-Quarantine. The requirements of Health Mandate 010 remain in effect. All people arriving in Alaska, whether resident, worker, or visitor, are required to self-quarantine for 14 days after arriving in the State and monitor for illness. To the greatest extent possible, arriving people should self-quarantine at their final destination in Alaska.
- Arriving crewmembers should be aware that some local communities, boatyards, or harbormasters may have enacted additional protective measures, and must comply with those measures. b. Crewmembers’ temperature shall be taken twice daily during self-quarantine. Should fever symptoms develop during quarantine, follow the Identification protocol in Paragraph VII (a), seek testing and medical treatment immediately if symptoms are suspected to be caused by COVID-19. c. If it is necessary for a crewmember to board the vessel before their 14- day quarantine ends (to work or because the vessel must get underway), the time on the vessel may count toward the 14 days. d. If a new crewmember joins a worksite or vessel prior to completing the 14-day self-quarantine after arrival at their final destination, they must complete their quarantine at the worksite or vessel. If it is not possible to fully quarantine in a separate room, the 14-day self-quarantine period must be restarted for the entire crew. e. For crewmembers who live locally, or return to port daily, crewmembers and families or roommates shall practice social distancing for the duration of the season. f. Workers living on shore during their 14- day self-quarantine period, may only travel directly between their designated self-quarantine lodging and worksite. They must observe self-quarantine restrictions when not on the worksite. g. The time spent in transit from the final out-of-state port to Alaska on a vessel, demonstrated through a ship’s log or equivalent record, will count towards the in state, 14-day mandatory self-quarantine period if all protective measures are followed. h. The vessel must report that it is undergoing self-quarantine, or has a selfquarantined crewmember on board, if it has any contact with another vessel, a processor, or a harbormaster. Vessels are required to fly a “Lima” flag or similar yellow and black pennant if they have any crew on board still under selfquarantine. i. Once the initial self-quarantine period after arriving in the State has been observed, there is no requirement to repeat the self-quarantine period when moving between Alaskan communities.
- Screening of Personnel. All crewmembers will be screened upon arrival to the vessel, using the following procedures, or an equivalent medically- vetted procedure. Vessel captains may wish to arrange for dedicated spaces to conduct private arrival screening.
- Verbal Screening Questions i. Have you experienced any cough, difficulty breathing, shortness of breath, loss of smell or taste, sore throat, unusual fatigue or symptoms of acute respiratory illness in the last 72 hours? ii. Have you experienced a fever (100.4° F [38° C] or greater using an oral thermometer) within the last 72 hours? iii. Have you experienced signs of a fever such as chills, aches and pains, etc. within the last 72 hours? iv. In the past 14 days, have you traveled in an area or country with widespread COVID-19 transmission without practicing social distancing? v. Have you had contact, within the past 14 days, with a lab-confirmed or suspected COVID-19 case patient? (Contact defined as being within six feet of a COVID-19 case patient for a prolonged period of time (ten minutes or more) or having direct contact with infectious secretions of a COVID-19 case patient)? b. Physical Screening i. Each crewmember shall demonstrate a measured temperature < 100.4°F. (This reference is for oral temperature, a forehead (temporal) scanner is usually 0.5°F (0.3°C) to 1°F (0.6°C) lower than an oral temperature. An ear (tympanic) temperature is 0.5°F (0.3°C) to 1°F (0.6°C) higher than an oral temperature.)
- Anyone performing a physical screening shall wear appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE). If PPE is not available, the crewmember may take their own temperature. iii. Each crewmember must be free of fever or respiratory symptoms. A possible exception would be if a crewmember has mild symptoms that are clearly attributable to another source (i.e., allergies). c. If a crewmember fails verbal or physical screening, or is displaying viral symptoms, they will not be allowed to board. d. Additionally, vessel captains should assess each crewmember’s individual risk factors (e.g., older age; presence of chronic medical conditions, including immunocompromising conditions) and enact additional protective measures as needed to minimize their risk.
- Protecting the Public. It is anticipated that catcher and tender vessels may have local community contact for the following reasons: offload, resupply, and maintenance; planned shipyard work at the beginning of the season; vessels that return to port daily or frequently as part of their fishery; medical or other unforeseen emergencies. Vessel captains and crewmembers must use the following procedures to limit contact with members of the public to the greatest extent possible:
- For crewmembers who live locally or return to port daily, crewmembers and families or roommates must comply with Health Mandate 011 on social distancing. b. Other crew may not disembark the vessel while in port for non-essential purposes. c. All face-to-face interaction between crew and shore-based workers will be kept to an absolute minimum, such as receiving for supplies, off-loading catch, fish tickets, and refueling. Those interactions that cannot be conducted remotely must follow social distancing guidelines. d. When contracting for services, vessel captains shall ensure that vendors providing services to, or onboard, vessels in port use the following procedures: i. If possible, any deliveries shall be made without a vendor boarding a vessel. The delivery shall be disinfected, if possible, before bringing it on board. ii. In the event that a vendor must board a vessel, they must undergo the same screening as a crewmember boarding a vessel and be denied boarding if they have a fever, respiratory symptoms, or a high-risk COVID-19 exposure in the prior 14 days. iii. Vendors shall wear a mask and face shield on board and shall wash their hands or use hand sanitizer prior to boarding and after leaving.
- Vendors and crew must practice social distancing and remain six feet apart, if possible. v. Where feasible, use methods of communication that minimize yelling (such as radios or microphones). vi. If working in an engine room, keep ventilation fans running for circulation, even at the dock. vii. Try to allow vendors to work alone and use only the absolute minimum required number of workers in a space. viii. Carefully control the ingress and egress of vendors from the vessel. ix. If vendors must use onboard tools they must be disinfected prior to and after use. x. After a vendor leaves, the ship shall be disinfected and all crew shall wash hands. e. Vessel captains shall check in with the harbormaster prior to any port of call, and follow the directives of harbormasters while in their ports. f. Private sector businesses such as retailers, hotels, and air carriers may also enact additional measures as a part of their protective plans, which must be followed in order to obtain their services.
- On Board Protective Measures. All crewmembers must receive training on the requirements of this Mandate, including Appendix 01. Vessel captains shall enact protective measures as appropriate to their vessel size and design in order to limit proximity of persons while onboard or underway.
- Vessel captains should consider limiting the number of crewmembers allowed in operational spaces such as the wheelhouse and engine room. These social distancing measures are not required if the entire vessel crew is comprised of members of a single-family unit. These social distancing measures may not be possible on smaller vessels. b. Best practices for galleys and mess areas are: i. Ensure all crew wash hands before eating or touching any food items or utensils. ii. Any crew with cough or respiratory symptoms must eat separately. Galley shall be prepared to send individual meals to sick crew and clean dishes separately. iii. Eliminate buffet or family-style dining and any common serving dishes. Identify one crewmember to handle food and to prepare a plate for each crew. Do not allow serving utensils to be shared.
- Consider having a galley crewmember prepare individual snacks for the day and distribute to each crewmember. Eliminate common bowls of snacks or opportunities for multiple people to touch food or packaged food products. v. Galley crew shall practice meticulous hand and cough hygiene and shall wear a mask and gloves while serving food. vi. Some additional protective measures may include: 1. Self-service utensils – to reduce the opportunity for items to be touched by multiple people, set up trays with utensils on them and hand them out or set table before service. 2. Use of single- use cups/plates/etc. 3. Aggressive sanitizing of push button/lever beverage dispensers, condiments, etc. – areas that people may be touching during the meal service. 4. Stagger meal breaks to reduce the number of people in the galley at one time or reducing the seating capacity in the galley so people are spaced farther apart. 5. Ensure people sanitize their hands on the way to and from the galley.
- Best practices for cleaning and sanitation of PPE, surfaces, and spaces are:
- Dedicated person(s) shall be assigned to the tasks of cleaning, sanitizing, and disinfecting. After tasks are completed, they shall spray disinfectant chemical on the soles of their shoes, to prevent any cross-contamination. They shall also change out of their uniform, send to laundry in sealed bag, and take a shower. Consider the use of “dissolvable laundry bags” for contaminated linen and clothing. ii. Daily disinfection of surfaces that people touch frequently can help decrease the spread of germs. When illness has been identified on board, consider disinfecting surfaces multiple times per day. iii. Surfaces that people touch a lot (door handles, railings, light switches, chairs and tables) and bathroom and kitchen surfaces shall be cleaned, sanitized, and disinfected at least three times a day. iv. Vessels must have in place a detailed procedure for cleaning, sanitizing, and disinfecting a vessel and disposing of PPE.
- Vessel captains shall encourage basic common hygiene practices, such as: frequent and thorough hand washing; respiratory etiquette, including covering coughs and sneezes; discouraging crewmembers from using others’ personal property, work tools, and equipment. e. Crewmembers are required to stay in their assigned accommodations if they are sick. f. For any material (e.g., lines, fish tickets) that must be passed between vessels or to shore, crewmembers shall wear gloves and face coverings when handling material and perform hand hygiene after transfer. Crewmembers must disinfect any new supplies that arrive on board. After handling material, crew shall remove and discard or wash gloves, immediately wash hands with soap and water or use hand sanitizer, and then disinfect any personal items they may have touched, such as radios. g. If the crew will be completing the 14-day self-quarantine on board, it is acceptable to continue to fish during this time. Restrict contact with tenders or shore-personnel as much as possible. If contact with other vessels or personnel must occur, adhere to the safety plans set up by tender or port facilities, and utilize the following precautions:
- Restrict personnel from boarding the vessel, any communication shall be done by phone or radio instead of in person if possible ii. Wipe down rails, door handles, and surfaces frequently with disinfecting wipes. iii. Vessels are required to fly a “Lima” flag or similar yellow and black pennant if they have any crew on board under quarantine.
VII. Procedures for Crewmembers who Become Ill. Vessels must follow the following procedures for identification, isolation and assessment of crewmembers who begin to show symptoms of infection:
- Identification. Observe crew daily for: i. New signs of fever, cough, difficulty breathing, loss of smell or taste, unusual fatigue, or shortness of breath. ii. If there is a respiratory illness identified on board, take temperature twice daily of each crewmember. iii. If there are symptoms presenting, repeat the screening from Paragraph IV. iv. If a crewmember screens “yes” to any of the verbal symptom questions (13), place a surgical mask on, if tolerated
- If a crewmember screens “yes” to BOTH: (1) any of the verbal symptom questions (1-3); AND (2) an epidemiological risk factor questions (4 or 5), place a surgical mask on crewmember. if tolerated. and isolate per the Isolation protocol below. If an isolation room is not available, the entire vessel will be considered under isolation. vi. Evaluating provider must don appropriate PPE and begin to document who has had exposure to the crewmember within the last two days. vii. If a crewmember screens “yes” to fever and respiratory symptoms, but does not clearly have an exposure that would qualify for a COVID-19 suspect case, seek medical evaluation and, at a minimum, recommend isolation. The crewmember shall wait to return to work until 72 hours AFTER the fever ends without the use of fever-reducing medications AND an improvement in initial symptoms (i.e. cough, shortness of breath). b. Isolation. Isolation separates sick people with a contagious disease from people who are not sick. When possible, isolate sick crewmembers in a separate stateroom and designate a head that is only for isolated crew. In vessels that cannot accommodate individual isolation, consider the entire vessel under isolation for 14 days. i. If a crewmember is identified as a potential COVID-19 case, immediately ask them to wear a facemask (a surgical mask, not N-95), if tolerated. If there are no facemasks available, a cloth face covering may be used as a last resort. ii. Place the crewmember in a private room with the door closed, ideally an airborne infection isolation room if available. Place a label on the door indicating no one is to enter the room without proper PPE. This room shall have separate toilet and bathing facilities. iii. Any staff entering the room shall use Standard Precautions, Contact Precautions, and Airborne Precautions, and use eye protection such as goggles or a face shield. If N-95 masks are not available, a surgical mask may be considered an acceptable alternative at this time. iv. Access to the room shall be limited to personnel involved in direct care. Meals shall be delivered to the room and dishes and utensils cleaned separately. Anyone with exposure to the crewmember shall document the date and time of exposure, nature of exposure (close contact, same room, secretions), and PPE worn. Meticulous hand hygiene MUST be performed immediately after removing PPE. v. Maintain a distance of six feet from the sick crewmember and keep interactions with them as brief as possible.
- Limit the number of people who interact with sick people. To the extent possible, have a single person give care and meals to the sick person. vii. Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth. viii. Wash your hands often with sudsy soap and warm/hot water and wash your hands immediately after leaving the presence of the sick crewmember. If soap and water are not available, and if hands are not visibly soiled, use a hand sanitizer containing at least 60% alcohol. ix. Provide tissues and access to soap and water, and ask the sick crewmembers to cover their mouth and nose with a tissue (or facemask) when coughing or sneezing. c. Notification. If person on vessel becomes ill with suspected or confirmed COVID19, contact local public health nursing for further guidance: i. Dillingham Public Health Center: 842-5981 ii. Homer Public Health Center: 235-8857 iii. Ketchikan Public Health Center: 225-4350 iv. Kodiak Public Health Center: 486-3319 v. Nome Public Health Center: 443-3221 vi. Petersburg Public Health Center: 772-4611 vii. Sitka Public Health Center: 747-3255 viii. Valdez Public Health Center: 835-4612 ix. http://dhss.alaska.gov/dph/Nursing/Pages/locations.aspx (a) For a person ill or injured and not suspected of COVID-19 follow established process to evaluate for establishing healthcare. (b) If the vessel containing an ill crewmember is not directed to shore-side medical attention, the vessel may continue to fish and complete a 14day quarantine at sea. If unloading to a tender/processor is necessary during this time, the vessel must tell the tender/processor it has a sick crewmember on board. During the unloading, all crew must wear gloves and face coverings, and follow the procedures in Paragraph VI.g. d. Transportation. i. Procedure on transportation of suspected COVID-19 cases at disembarkation. 1. For the crewmember with suspected COVID-19: A facemask shall be worn by the patient for source control.
- If general medical issue, contact and seek medical care from local clinic. e. Quarantine. Quarantine separates and restricts the movement of people who were exposed to a contagious disease to see if they become sick. If separate staterooms with designated bathrooms are available, this procedure may be considered for individual crew. Otherwise, consider the entire vessel under quarantine.
- Passengers and crew members who have had high-risk exposures to a person suspected of having COVID-19 shall be quarantined in their cabins. All potentially exposed passengers, ship medical staff, and crewmembers shall avoid leaving the vessel and self-monitor under supervision of ship medical staff or telemedicine providers until 14 days after the last possible exposure (if the ill crewmember remained on the vessel and could not be fully separated from healthy crew, consider the entire vessel under quarantine for 14 days after the case is determined by public health to no longer need isolation). If an entire vessel is under quarantine, they may continue to work. ii. A high-risk exposure could occur through close contact with the suspected case without PPE. Close contact is defined as:
- being within approximately six feet (two meters) of a COVID-19 case for a prolonged period of time (ten minutes or longer); (close contact can occur while caring for, living with, visiting, or sharing a healthcare waiting area or room with a COVID-19 case);
- having direct contact with infectious secretions of a COVID-19 case (e.g., being coughed on).
iii. For a catcher or tender vessel with a suspected case, consider the entire crew to have had a high-risk exposure. iv. If personnel develop fever, cough, difficulty breathing, or other symptoms of COVID-19 while in quarantine, they shall be isolated and undergo medical assessment, reporting and transportation as per the other relevant sections of this Mandate. v. Vessel management and telemedicine providers shall remain in contact with personnel through the self-monitoring period to oversee selfmonitoring activities. vi. If the vessel returns to port with a sick crewmember, remaining crewmembers are not permitted to leave the vessel except to receive medical care or to move directly to a suitable quarantine location. No offvessel work is permitted. The vessel must coordinate delivery of food or other necessities. Vessels are required to fly a “Lima” flag or similar yellow and black pennant if they have any crew on board under quarantine. vii. The remaining exposed crewmembers must complete a 14-day quarantine period, from the time the sick crewmember is transported, on the vessel or in a suitable quarantine location.
VIII. Continuity of Fisheries Operations.
- Vessel captains shall consider the impact that this pandemic will have on the fishing industry as a whole, their suppliers and wrap-around services such as fuel, groceries, and lodging. b. Vessel captains shall consider the potential impact to their operations that may arise as a result of outbreaks or increased rates of crewmember absenteeism, and enact plans for cross-training crewmembers to the greatest extent possible. c. Vessel captains must cease operations and return to port if they do not have enough healthy crewmembers remaining to safely operate the vessel.