Alaska on Sunday reported 166 new COVID-19 infections and no new deaths, according to the state Department of Health and Social Services. All of the cases were reported in Alaska residents.
Sunday’s case count continues a trend of declining infection numbers after a peak in November and early December that caused officials to worry about hospital capacity.
Despite the decreasing case numbers, Alaska remains in high alert.
By Sunday, there were 48 people with COVID-19 in hospitals throughout the state. Another nine patients were suspected of having the virus. Seven of those people were on ventilators. Hospitalizations are less than a third of where they were during the state’s peak in November and December.
In total, 257 Alaskans and two nonresidents with COVID-19 have died since the pandemic reached the state in March. The state on Wednesday reported 24 deaths — the most announced in a single day, though only one of those deaths occurred recently. The rest were identified during a review of death certificates completed over the last several months, according to state health officials.
Alaska’s death rate per capita is still among the lowest in the country, but the state’s size and vulnerable health care system complicate national comparisons.
The vaccine reached Alaska in mid-December and by Friday, which is the most recent data available, 72,145 people had been vaccinated, according to the state’s vaccine monitoring dashboard. At least 16,186 had received both doses of the vaccination. Alaska has currently vaccinated more residents per capita than any other state, according to a national tracker.
Health care workers and nursing home staff and residents were the first people to receive the vaccination. In early January, the state said adults older than 65 were now eligible, although appointment slots are limited and have filled quickly.
For more information about vaccination appointments, 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, but some users have reported longer delays.
Despite the decreasing infections and the continued vaccination efforts, Alaska has seen several recent outbreaks at fish processing plants in the Aleutian Islands. Two plants in Unalaska and one in Akutan, halted operations because of outbreaks last week.
Of the 166 cases reported in Alaska residents on Sunday, 47 were in Anchorage and three in Eagle River; two were in Kenai and one in Sterling; two were in Cordova and two in Valdez; three were in Healy; 13 were in Fairbanks and six in North Pole; one was in Big Lake, one in Houston, seven in Palmer, two in Sutton-Alpine, seven in Wasilla and two in Willow; one was in Juneau; two were in Ketchikan; one was in Sitka; and 18 were in Bethel.
Among communities with populations under 1,000 people not named to protect privacy, there were two in the Yukon-Koyukuk Census Area; three in the North Slope Borough; three in the Northwest Arctic Borough; 27 in the Bethel Census Area; one in the Dillingham Census Area; and nine in the Kusilvak Census Area.
No cases were identified Sunday in nonresidents.
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.
Over the past week, 3.05% of all tests completed statewide came back positive.
- Tess Williams