Alaska on Wednesday reported one virus-related death and 296 new COVID-19 infections, according to the state Department of Health and Human Services.
The death involved an Anchorage woman in her 70s, the state health department said. In total, 225 Alaskans 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 Wednesday, 61 people with COVID-19 were hospitalized around the state and another seven patients were suspected of having the virus, according to the state. Hospitalizations have declined sharply since high numbers were reported in November and early December.
The state’s daily case counts have also fallen significantly during recent weeks, but the statewide alert level is still high.
Vaccines reached Alaska in mid-December. By Wednesday, 35,383 people had received their first dose of vaccine with 7,965 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 visit 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 288 new cases reported Wednesday among Alaska residents, there were 81 in Anchorage plus 12 in Eagle River and one in Girdwood; 39 in Fairbanks; 19 in Bethel; 18 in Wasilla; eight in Palmer; seven in North Pole; seven in Petersburg; six in Ketchikan; four in Kodiak; four in Unalaska; three in Kenai; three in Nome; two in Utqiagvik; two in Delta Junction; one in Homer; one in Seward; one in Soldotna; one in Sterling; one in Cordova; one in Valdez; one in Kotzebue; one in Juneau; one in Sitka; one in Hooper Bay; and one in an unidentified region of the state.
Among communities smaller than 1,000 people not named to protect privacy, there were 27 in the Bethel Census Area; seven in the North Slope Borough; seven in the Kusilvak Census Area; six in the Yukon-Koyukuk Census Area; three in the northern Kenai Peninsula Borough; three in the Fairbanks North Star Borough; three in the Northwest Arctic Borough; one in the southern Kenai Peninsula Borough; one in the Kodiak Island Borough; one in the Valdez-Cordova Census Area; one in the Denali Borough; and one in the Prince of Wales and Hyder Census Area.
Eight cases were reported Wednesday among nonresidents, including three in Juneau, two in Fairbanks, one in Anchorage, one in Kenai and one in an unidentified region of the state.
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 Wednesday was 4.06% 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.
— Annie Berman
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