Alaska on Tuesday reported 159 new COVID-19 infections and one death, according to datat from the state Department of Health and Human Services.
The person who died was an Anchorage man in his 70s, the health department said. The data has yet to reflect the death of an Utqiagvik resident reported Monday by the Arctic Slope Native Association.
In total, 224 Alaskans — plus the Utqiagvik resident — and one nonresident with COVID-19 have died since the pandemic reached the state in March. Alaska’s death rate per capita is among the lowest in the country, though the state’s size and vulnerable health care system complicate national comparisons.
By Tuesday, 67 people with COVID-19 were hospitalized around the state and another four patients were suspected of having the virus, according to the state. Hospitalizations generally are falling, especially since high numbers were reported in November and early December.
The state’s daily case counts have also fallen significantly during recent weeks though health officials continue to express concern about a spike following the holidays. The statewide alert level is still high.
Vaccines reached Alaska in mid-December. By Tuesday, 29,803 people had received their first dose of vaccine with 5,976 having received both doses required for the vaccine to be fully effective, according to the state’s vaccine monitoring dashboard.
State officials this week said the state has allocated the vaccine received for December and January, but there are still appointments and large clinics occurring in the coming days and weeks.
For more information, the public can go to covidvax.alaska.gov or call 907-646-3322 and leave a message. A recording says calls will be returned in the order they’re received within 48 hours.
Of the 155 new cases reported Tuesday among Alaska residents, there were 32 in Anchorage plus one in Chugiak and two in Eagle River; one in Anchor Point, two in Homer, four in Kenai, two in Soldotna and one in Sterling; 18 in Fairbanks and five in North Pole; one in Tok; one in Big Lake, eight in Palmer and 14 in Wasilla; two in Utqiagvik; eight in Juneau; two in Ketchikan; four in Sitka; one in Unalaska; 13 in Bethel; one in Chevak; and one in Hooper Bay.
Among communities smaller than 1,000 people not named to protect privacy, there were 13 in the North Slope Borough; two in the Fairbanks North Star Borough; one in the Nome Census Area; one in the Northwest Arctic Borough; eight in the Bethel Census Area; one in the Bristol Bay plus Lake and Peninsula boroughs; and five in the Kusilvak Census Area.
Four cases were reported Tuesday among nonresidents, including one in Anchorage, one in Sitka, one in Unalaska and one in Bethel.
While people might get tested more than once, each case reported by the state health department represents only one person.
The state’s data doesn’t specify whether people testing positive for COVID-19 have symptoms. More than half of the nation’s infections are transmitted from asymptomatic people, according to CDC estimates.
The statewide test positivity rate as of Tuesday was 4.4% over a seven-day average. Health officials say anything above 5% can indicate inadequate testing and widespread community transmission. The state peaked at over 9% positivity in November.
— Zaz Hollander
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