The state on Friday reported 242 new cases of COVID-19 and no new deaths, according to the Department of Health and Social Services COVID-19 dashboard.
Friday’s tally marks the second-highest daily increase in new cases so far, and the 30th straight day of triple-digit daily case increases for Alaska.
There were 59 people hospitalized with the virus in Alaska as of Friday, the most since the pandemic began here in March.
The state’s per capita death rate remains among the lowest in the country. In total, 68 Alaskans have died with COVID-19.
The majority of the new cases reported on Friday were in Anchorage, where case rates are growing, contact tracing is strained and hospitalizations are rising. Last week, the municipality averaged 104 new cases per day, said Dr. Janet Johnston, epidemiologist with the Anchorage Health Department.
“The level that we’re at now with new cases per day is much higher than we were even at the peak in July,” Johnston said during a call with reporters Friday.
The new case numbers reported by the state include only some of the recent cases reported by tribal health officials in the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta, which is contending with a dramatic surge in virus cases amid a host of challenges, including limited access to health care and running water in many remote communities. On Friday afternoon, the Yukon-Kuskokwim Health Corp. reported 56 new cases within the Y-K Delta region, including 39 new cases in the village of Chevak, where a total of 186 people had tested positive by Friday evening.
The state health department’s data is updated daily and typically reflects test results returned the previous day.
Of the new cases, it wasn’t clear how many patients were showing symptoms of the virus when they tested positive. While people might get tested more than once, each case reported by the state health department only represents one person.
Of the 239 new resident cases of COVID-19 reported by the state Friday, 143 were in Anchorage; 24 in Wasilla; 21 in Fairbanks; seven in Kenai; six in Palmer; six in Juneau; five in Chugiak; three in Eagle River; two in Soldotna; two in Kotzebue; two in Bethel; two in Chevak; one in Homer; one in Sterling; one in Kodiak; one in North Pole; one in Big Lake; one in Sutton-Alpine; one in Douglas; and two cases in an unidentified region of the state.
Among communities smaller than 1,000 not identified to protect confidentiality, there was four cases in the Bethel Census Area; one in the Yukon-Koyukuk Census Area; one in the Nome Census Area; one in the Kusilvak Census Area.
There were three new nonresident cases reported Friday: one in Anchorage, one in Fairbanks, and one in unidentified region of the state.
The state’s testing positivity rate as of Friday was 5.25% over a seven-day rolling average.
— Annie Berman