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Alaska News

Tracking COVID-19 in Alaska: 1 new death, 5 more Pioneer Home cases

  • Author: Anchorage Daily News
  • Updated: August 18
  • Published August 18

The Alaska Department of Health and Social Services reported a new death of an Alaskan with COVID-19 on Tuesday and 68 new infections around the state, mostly in residents.

The person who died was a male Anchorage resident in his 80s with underlying health conditions, according to state officials.

Twenty-nine Alaskans have now died with the virus. The state’s death rate — 4 per 100,000 — is the second lowest in the nation, according to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

State officials also announced Tuesday afternoon that five more people have tested positive for the disease at the Anchorage Pioneer Home, bringing the total number of cases in that outbreak to 17 — 14 elders and three staff. Ongoing testing revealed the new cases in four elders and one staff member, and more testing is being done, officials said.

The Ketchikan Indian Community Health Clinic closed Tuesday and will remain closed Wednesday after three staff members tested positive, local officials announced. Facilities will be sanitized before reopening.

The state has confirmed a total of 5,177 cases of the disease in Alaska since the pandemic began here in March, involving 4,371 residents and 806 nonresidents, according to the state’s COVID-19 dashboard.

Of the resident cases, a total of 179 people or about 4% since March have become ill enough to require hospitalization. A total of 4 nonresidents have been hospitalized with the virus.

There were 41 patients hospitalized with COVID-19 around the state as of Tuesday, a new high for the pandemic, according to the dashboard. Six more patients were being investigated for the virus.

Of the new cases reported Tuesday, it wasn’t clear how many were showing symptoms of the virus when they tested positive.

There were 4 new cases reported in nonresidents: 2 seafood industry workers in Kodiak Island Borough and 1 each under investigation in Soldotna and Petersburg.

Twenty-two of the new resident cases involved people from Anchorage, including one person from Eagle River.

Forty-two other cases were reported around the state: 1 in Homer, 6 in Kenai, 2 in a smaller north Kenai Peninsula community or communities, and 6 in Soldotna; 1 in a smaller community in the Valdez-Cordova Census Area; 4 in Fairbanks and 4 in North Pole; 1 in a smaller community in the Yukon-Koyukuk Census Area; 8 in Wasilla; 1 in Nome; 1 in Kotzebue and 2 in a smaller Northwest Arctic Borough community or communities; 1 in Douglas and 1 in Juneau; 1 in a smaller community in the Prince of Wales-Hyder Census Area; and 2 in Sitka.

Of the 64 Alaska residents, 29 are male, 34 are female and one was labeled as unknown, state health officials say. Four are under the age of 10; four are between 10 and 19; 12 are in their 20s; 10 are in their 30s; 15 are in their 40s; seven are in their 50s; nine are in their 60s; two are in their 70s; and one is 80 or older.

As of Tuesday, there were 3,057 people infected with coronavirus in Alaska. Another 1,285 residents and nonresidents were presumed recovered and out of isolation.

The state’s testing positivity rate reported Tuesday was 1.79% over a 7-day rolling average.

— Zaz Hollander

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