Alaska on Monday reported one death and 345 new cases of COVID-19, according to the Department of Health and Social Services COVID-19 dashboard.
The woman who died was an Anchorage resident in her 80s, according to the department.
In total, 84 Alaskans with the virus have died since the start of the pandemic, and Alaska’s death rate per capita remains among the lowest in the country, though it has risen in the last week from 9 deaths per 100,000 to 11.
A total of 79 people were hospitalized with the virus in Alaska as of Monday, down from 80 on Sunday. An additional 18 people were hospitalized with suspected cases of COVID-19, according to state data. The rising number of patients hospitalized with the virus over the last few weeks has officials worried that increasing case numbers could overwhelm hospitals if the virus continues to spread rapidly.
Monday’s 345 new cases follow more than a month of triple-digit daily increases, including a record 526 new cases reported in a single day just a week prior, and 447 reported on Saturday.
Of the 344 new resident cases reported by the state Monday, there were 158 in Anchorage plus five in Chugiak and 13 in Eagle River; two in Homer; four in Kenai; one in Seward; six in Soldotna; one in Sterling; 35 in Fairbanks; 10 in North Pole; two in Big Lake; 17 in Palmer; one in Sutton-Alpine; 45 in Wasilla; two in Willow; two in Kotzebue; three in Douglas; one in Juneau; two in Ketchikan; seven in Bethel; one in Dillingham; and eight in Chevak.
Among communities smaller than 1,000 people that are not named to protect privacy, there was one case in the southern Kenai Peninsula; two in the Fairbanks North Star Borough; two in the Yukon-Koyukuk Census Area; one in that Mat-Su Borough; three in the Nome Census Area; one in the Northwest Arctic Borough; one in the Aleutians East Borough; six in the Bethel Census Area; and one in the Kusilvak Census Area.
There was also one new nonresident case reported Monday in an unidentified region of the state.
In Anchorage, where daily cases jumped by 64% over the last week according to the health department’s latest report, local health officials indicated that the age distribution of new cases has shifted dramatically older in the past week, away from a previous trend of younger people driving the pandemic.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has said that the older people are, the more likely they are to be hospitalized or die with the virus.
As of Monday, there were a total of 9,863 active cases of the virus in Alaska residents and nonresidents currently residing in the state. A total of 7,110 people had recovered as of Monday.
Of the new cases, it was not reported 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.
All but two regions of the state were considered to be in high alert, meaning widespread community transmission is occurring.
The state’s testing positivity rate dropped slightly on Monday at 6.48% over a seven-day rolling average, after reaching a high of over 8% late last week. A positivity rate over 5% can indicate high community transmission and not enough testing, health officials have said.
— Annie Berman