Alaska reported 481 new cases of COVID-19 Monday, according to the state Department of Health and Social Services.
The state reported no new deaths on Monday. In total, 120 Alaskans with COVID-19 have died since the virus was first detected here in March. The state’s death rate per capita remains one of the lowest in the country, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Separately, local officials in Juneau on Monday reported the death of someone who had previously contracted the virus and recovered. The person’s death Friday was attributed to COVID-19. No additional information was immediately available.
By Monday around the state, 147 people with COVID-19 were hospitalized along with another 13 people with suspected cases. Health officials have repeatedly stressed that hospitals in Alaska will become overwhelmed if cases continue to rise. Statewide on Monday, 44 intensive care unit beds were available.
As ongoing widespread community transmission of the virus continues, health officials consider nearly every region of the state to be at high alert. Health officials have repeatedly stressed that hospitals in Alaska will become overwhelmed if cases continue to rise.
The cases reported daily actually underestimate true totals because the number of people diagnosed in recent weeks is outpacing the ability of public health workers to report them, according to state health officials. A commercial testing lab also failed to report results for weeks.
In response to growing pressure on the city’s hospitals, Anchorage will return to a modified “hunker-down” state starting Tuesday.
Prior to Thanksgiving, health officials nationally and statewide urged people to avoid travel and spend the holiday with those inside their household to avoid spreading the virus. Any new surge in cases linked to the holiday won’t begin to appear for a week or so.
Of the new cases reported among Alaska residents Monday, there were 157 in Anchorage along with 26 in Eagle River and nine in Chugiak; 110 in Wasilla, 32 in Palmer, three in Willow, two in Houston and one in Big Lake; 16 in Kenai, nine in Soldotna, two in Nikiski, one in Homer and one in Sterling; 18 in Bethel; 15 in Fairbanks; 13 in Utqiagvik; seven in Kodiak; seven in Sitka; six in Juneau and one in Douglas; one in Skagway; one in Nome; and one in Dillingham.
Among communities smaller than 1,000 people not named to protect privacy, there were 31cases in the Bethel Census Area, three in the Kusilvak Census Area, two in Mat-Su, one in the northern portion of the Kenai Peninsula Borough, one in the Valdez-Cordova Census Area, and one in the Prince of Wales-Hyder Census Area.
Three cases were reported among nonresidents Monday, including two at Prudhoe Bay and one in an unknown location.
The state reported more than 1 million tests have been performed in Alaska since March. While people might get tested more than once, each case reported by the state health department represents only one person.
Among the new cases, the state does not report how many people show symptoms when they test positive. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that about a third of people who have the virus are asymptomatic.
On Monday, the state had a positivity rate of 6.39% over the last seven days. Health officials warn that a positivity rate over 5% can mean there is not enough broad testing occurring in a community.
— Zaz Hollander
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