In the run-up to the Independence Day weekend, Alaska recorded another death and another record-high daily count of new COVID-19 cases involving Alaskans and nonresidents, state data showed Friday.
A 15th Alaskan has died with the virus, according to data posted Friday from the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services. The Anchorage resident was a man in his 80s who died in early June, and the virus “was listed as a contributing cause of death,” the state health department said in a statement Friday afternoon.
Of the 14 deaths previously announced by the state, four involved Alaskans who were out of state when they died.
The state reported 60 new cases on Friday, of which 46 involve residents and 14 involve people from outside the state. Since the pandemic began, 1,063 Alaskans and 223 non-Alaskans have tested positive for the illness caused by the coronavirus.
As of Friday, there were 680 active COVID-19 cases in Alaska among residents and people from Outside, another high since the virus was first detected in the state.
“We are thinking of the loved ones of the person who died,” the state’s chief medical officer, Dr. Anne Zink, said in statement Friday. “We are concerned about Alaska’s sharp rise in cases and hope everyone takes this as a warning call to limit contacts this weekend, stay six feet apart from non-household members, wear a face mask and wash your hands often.
“If you are sick, even with mild COVID-19 symptoms, please isolate yourself and seek testing. We need all Alaskans working together to break infection chains.”
Southcentral Alaska saw another jump in cases, with 19 Anchorage resident cases and two cases involving people from Eagle River. The Matanuska-Susitna Borough recorded three new cases among Wasilla residents, one among Willow residents and another involving someone from Houston.
In Seward — where officials trying to contain an outbreak implemented business capacity restrictions, gathering size limits and mask requirements this week — there were three new cases among residents and two cases among nonresidents in test results returned Thursday, according to Friday’s state data. (The state reports new cases daily reflecting test results returned on the previous day. Seward officials said that test results back Friday didn’t show any new positives.) Elsewhere on the Kenai Peninsula, a Soldotna resident also tested positive for the illness, according to state data Friday.
Fairbanks also reported 11 new COVID-19 cases among residents and two cases involving people from Outside, according to state data.
There was also one case each reported among residents of Juneau, Nome, Bethel and smaller, unspecified communities in the Valdez-Cordova Census Area and the Kusilvak Census Area. The state doesn’t report the name of communities smaller than 1,000 people as a means of privacy protection.
Among the 10 other out-of-state cases reported Friday, seven involved seafood industry workers in the Bristol Bay and Lake & Peninsula boroughs while one involved a visitor to Dillingham, which the city announced Thursday.
State data showed another two non-Alaska residents in unknown parts of the state tested positive for the illness.
There were 25 people with suspected or confirmed cases of the illness in the hospital, according to state data Friday, which is up seven from the previous day. Of those 25, three were on ventilators, data showed. The state reported one new hospitalization in a person with a confirmed case of the illness Friday.
State data showed that 4,299 COVID-19 tests were completed on Thursday, according to the state’s health department. On Wednesday, there were 1,509 tests completed and on Tuesday there were 2,215 completed, state data showed. State testing numbers reflect the number of tests run, and not the number of individuals who were tested.
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