Alaska recorded four deaths and 563 new coronavirus cases Thursday as total infections statewide surpassed 30,000 since the start of the pandemic, according to data from the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services.
The four recent deaths involved two Anchorage men in their 70s, a woman from the Southeast Fairbanks Census Area in her 70s and a man from the Valdez-Cordova Census Area in his 70s who was out of state when he died, the state health department said Thursday. Additionally, the Department of Health and Social Services said one death that was previously reported was removed “through data verification after death certificate review.”
A total of 118 Alaskans and one nonresident have died with COVID-19 since March. Alaska’s death rate remains lower than other states, but is rising. On Tuesday, the state reported 13 deaths, the most tallied in a single day since the pandemic began in March.
There were 136 people with COVID-19 hospitalized as of Thursday, and an additional nine hospital patients were suspected of having the illness. Twenty-two confirmed or suspected COVID-19 patients were on ventilators, according to state data.
In response to Alaska’s continually high case counts and rising hospitalizations, Anchorage Acting Mayor Austin Quinn-Davidson announced Wednesday that the municipality will enter a modified version of a “hunker-down” beginning Dec. 1 that will last through the end of the month, citing grave threats to the city’s and state’s health care capacity as a top concern.
In the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta region, which currently has one of the highest per capita case rates in the country, the regional health corporation on Wednesday reported the 12th resident death in the region, involving an Alaskan in their 30s. They also reported 66 new cases of the virus in the region Wednesday — it can sometimes take a few days for cases and deaths to be reflected on the state’s data dashboard.
Of the 557 new cases reported by the state Thursday among Alaska residents, 227 were in Anchorage, plus 13 in Eagle River, eight in Chugiak and four in Girdwood; 44 in Homer; 42 in Kenai; 40 in Wasilla; 38 in Soldotna; 16 in Fairbanks; 11 in Delta Junction; 10 in Juneau; 10 in Kodiak; nine in Palmer; nine in Nikiski; six in Ketchikan; five in North Pole; five in Utqiagvik; five in Bethel; three in Sterling; three in Anchor Point; two in Willow; two in Big Lake; two in Chevak; one in Fritz Creek; one in Houston; one in Sutton-Alpine; one in Nome; one in Sitka; and three in an unidentified region of the state.
Among communities smaller than 1,000 people not named to protect privacy, there were 18 resident cases in the Bethel Census Area; five in the northern Kenai Peninsula Borough; three in the Kusilvak Census Area; two in the southern Kenai Peninsula Borough; one in the Valdez-Cordova Census Area; one in the Yukon-Koyukuk Census Area; one in the Matanuska-Susitna Borough; one in the Northwest Arctic Borough; one in the Ketchikan Gateway Borough; one in the Prince of Wales-Hyder Census Area; and one in the Yakutat plus Hoonah-Angoon region.
Six cases were reported Thursday among nonresidents: two in Anchorage, one in Fairbanks and three in unidentified regions of the state.
While people might get tested more than once, each case reported by the state health department represents only one person.
Of the new cases, it is not reported how many patients were showing symptoms when they tested positive. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that about a third of people who have the virus are asymptomatic.
In total, 30,102 Alaskans and nonresidents in the state have tested positive for COVID-19 since March.
— Annie Berman
[Editor’s note: This story has been updated to reflect that four new deaths were recorded Wednesday and one previously reported death was removed from the state’s data dashboard.]
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