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Alaska reports a record 119 COVID-19 daily cases, with cities reporting additional cases in seafood workers

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Alaska reported 119 new cases of COVID-19 on Sunday, the most statewide cases in a single day since the start of the pandemic.

No new deaths or hospitalizations were reported. The state’s daily count included 82 resident and 37 nonresident cases, according to the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services coronavirus response site.

Of the cases reported Sunday among Alaska residents, 36 cases were in Anchorage, 10 in the Yukon-Koyukuk census area of the Interior, nine in Fairbanks, seven in Wasilla, four each in Eagle River and Juneau, three in Soldotna, two in Homer and one each in Nikiski, Seward, Palmer, Sutton-Alpine, Ketchikan, a community marked as “other” in the Southeast Fairbanks census area and a community labeled as “other” in the Nome census area.

The only nonresident case reported Sunday outside of Unalaska was found in an unknown industry worker in Juneau.

In a separate announcement, the city of Unalaska reported Sunday that 85 seafood workers on an American Seafoods factory trawler were positive for COVID-19. Seven crew members of factory trawler American Triumph reported COVID-19 symptoms while the ship was on its way from Oregon to Alaska to fish for pollock, according to a statement from the company. They were tested in Unalaska shortly after arriving on Thursday and six crew members were positive for the virus.

After testing the 112 other people on the vessel, 79 additional cases were discovered, according to the city of Unalaska.

A spokeswoman for American Seafoods said crew members did not leave the ship after docking in Unalaska.

The infected crew members will sail on the American Triumph to Seward late Sunday or early Monday with medical professionals on board, the city of Seward wrote in an email. They’re expected to arrive Wednesday. Once there, the crew will board buses “to travel directly to their Anchorage isolation location for further care and monitoring,” according to the city of Seward.

Of the 85 infected crew members, 36 of the cases were reported in time to be included in the state’s daily total for Sunday.

Another 26 seafood workers tested positive for COVID-19 on Sunday in Juneau, according to the city of Juneau. Those cases will be reported by the state in the upcoming days, the city said.

Nine employees at Juneau’s Alaska Glacier Seafoods tested positive for the virus last week, the city said in an online statement. The cases stemmed from one employee who had contracted COVID-19 through community spread. The remaining 113 employees were then tested for the virus and about 23% were positive. The infected individuals are isolating, the city said. It was not immediately clear how many are nonresidents.

There have been 2,277 confirmed COVID-19 cases in Alaska since the beginning of the pandemic. Eighteen Alaskans who contracted the virus have died, including an Anchorage woman in her mid-50s whose death was reported Saturday. She had preexisting health conditions, DHSS said in an online statement.

There are 1,427 active COVID-19 cases in Alaska and 832 people have recovered from the virus.

The state has conducted 173,010 COVID-19 tests since March. During the last week, 3.1% of the tests were positive, according to data from the John Hopkins University Coronavirus Resource Center.

Currently, there are 27 people in the hospital who tested positive for COVID-19 or are suspected to have contracted it and are awaiting test results, according to the state of Alaska. Since the beginning of the pandemic, 99 people have been hospitalized for COVID-19 statewide.

The number of cases across the state has been steadily rising in previous weeks. Sunday marks the second time the state has seen more than 100 cases in a single day. The previous daily high case count was reported last Sunday, with 116 cases on July 12. Across the country, case counts are surging and states including Texas and Florida report overcrowded hospitals. In Alaska, 655 inpatient beds are available and 79 beds are open in the intensive care unit.

As cases have risen during the last few weeks, Anchorage Mayor Ethan Berkowitz noted that restrictions may be placed on the city again out of concern that the rising case numbers could overwhelm local hospitals. There were a record number of new cases in Anchorage reported last week, with 231 new cases and nearly twice as many nonresident infections as reported during the previous week.

More than 140,000 Americans have died from COVID-19, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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