Alaska on Thursday reported 296 new cases of COVID-19 and no new deaths but more people hospitalized with the virus than ever, according to the Department of Health and Social Services COVID-19 dashboard.
In total, 84 Alaskans with the virus have died since the start of the pandemic. Alaska’s overall death rate per capita remains among the lowest in the country.
A total of 89 people were hospitalized with the virus in Alaska as of Thursday, the highest since the pandemic began in March after hitting a prior record Wednesday. Another 15 hospital patients were suspected of having COVID-19, according to state data.
The state’s hospital capacity is a concern given the rapidly accelerating number of cases, health officials say. The virus is spreading largely among friends, families and co-workers at gatherings, sporting events and work.
All but two regions of the state were considered to be in high alert, meaning widespread community transmission is occurring.
Of the 291 new resident cases reported by the state Thursday, there were 136 in Anchorage, plus 14 in Eagle River and seven in Chugiak; 17 in Wasilla, 12 in Palmer, one in Big Lake and one in Willow; 20 in Fairbanks and three in North Pole; six in Soldotna, three in Kenai, two in Sterling, one in Homer and one in Seward; 34 in Bethel; seven in Utqiagvik; four in Chevak; one in Douglas and two in Juneau; five in Ketchikan; one in Kodiak; one in Delta Junction; one in Nome; one in Sitka; and one in Unalaska.
Among communities smaller than 1,000 people that are not named to protect privacy, there was one on the northern Kenai Peninsula, three in the Valdez-Cordova Census Area, one in the Yukon-Koyukuk Census Area, one in the Nome Census Area, and three in the Bethel Census Area.
There were also five new nonresident cases: one in Wasilla, one in Prudhoe Bay and three in unknown locations.
The Yukon-Kuskokwim region shows the state’s highest COVID-19 average daily case rates over the last two weeks. Separately from the state’s reporting, Yukon-Kuskokwim Health Corp. on Thursday reported 46 new cases in the region including 19 in Chevak,16 in Bethel, three in Quinhagak, two in Toksook Bay, and numerous single cases in villages including Chuathbaluk, Napaskiak, Pilot Station, and Emmonak.
Also reported separately from the state, local officials in Juneau say a COVID-19 cluster at Mendenhall Auto Center is currently at 40 cases and another cluster associated with the vulnerable/unsheltered population has grown to 93 cases.
As of Thursday, there were 10,965 active cases of the virus among Alaska residents and nonresidents in the state. A total of 7,125 people were considered recovered.
Of the new cases, it is 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.
The state’s testing positivity as of Thursday was 7.15% 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.
— Zaz Hollander
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