Alaska on Thursday reported 227 coronavirus infections and no COVID-19-related deaths, according to data from the Department of Health and Social Services.
Although case counts and hospitalizations in Alaska remain below what they were during a peak in November and December, the state’s average daily case rate has been trending upward over the last few weeks. Many regions in the state are still in the highest alert category based on their current per capita rate of infection.
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. In total, 309 Alaskans and four nonresidents with COVID-19 have died since the pandemic reached the state last spring.
So far, at least 75 cases of five coronavirus variants of concern have been identified through testing and sequencing efforts in Alaska, according to the latest weekly report from the state. Health officials continue to encourage Alaskans to wear face coverings in public, avoid large gatherings, wash their hands frequently, and get vaccinated against COVID-19 to prevent further spread.
Alaska in March became the first state in the country to open vaccine eligibility to anyone 16 and older who lives or works in the state. You can visit covidvax.alaska.gov or call 907-646-3322 to sign up for a vaccine appointment; new appointments are added regularly. The phone line is staffed 9 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. on weekdays and 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on weekends.
By Thursday, 263,475 people — 43% of Alaskans eligible for a shot — had received at least their first dose, according to the state’s vaccine monitoring dashboard. At least 198,262 people — about 33% of Alaskans 16 and older — were considered fully vaccinated.
By Thursday, there were 41 people with confirmed or suspected cases of COVID-19 in hospitals throughout the state, far below a peak in late 2020 but part of a slight increase over the last few weeks.
Of the 222 cases reported in Alaska residents on Thursday, there were 69 in Anchorage plus two in Chugiak and 10 in Eagle River; five in Valdez; one in Anchor Point; four in Kenai; one in Nikiski; four in Soldotna; two in Sterling; three in Kodiak; 19 in Fairbanks plus 16 in North Pole; one in Houston; 16 in Palmer; 41 in Wasilla; one in Nome; one in Douglas; four in Juneau; and two in Sitka.
Among communities smaller than 1,000 people not named to protect privacy, there were two in the northern Kenai Peninsula Borough; one in the Southeast Fairbanks Census Area; six in the Mat-Su Borough; two in the Northwest Arctic Borough; four in the Bethel Census Area; and five in the Kusilvak Census Area.
There were also five cases reported in nonresidents: one in Valdez, one in Wasilla, one in Juneau, and two 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.
Of all tests conducted over the past week, 3.18% came back positive.
— Annie Berman