Alaska on Friday reported 249 coronavirus infections and no COVID-19-related deaths, according to data from the Department of Health and Social Services.
No coronavirus-related deaths have been reported in Alaska for 22 days, marking the state’s longest stretch without any COVID-19 deaths since last April. Alaska’s death rate per capita is still among the lowest in the country. In total, 309 Alaskans and four nonresidents with COVID-19 have died since the pandemic reached the state last spring.
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. Most regions in the state are still in the highest alert category based on their current per capita rate of infection.
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 Friday, 266,036 people — about 44% of Alaskans eligible for a shot — had received at least their first dose, according to the state’s vaccine monitoring dashboard. At least 203,259 people — a little over a third of Alaskans 16 and older — were considered fully vaccinated.
By Friday, there were 51 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 241 cases reported in Alaska residents on Friday, there were 82 cases in Anchorages plus three in Chugiak and seven in Eagle River; six in Valdez; one in Homer; three in Kenai; one in Seward; five in Soldotna; one in Sterling; one in Kodiak; 25 in Fairbanks plus eight in North Pole and one in Salcha; two in Delta Junction; three in Big Lake; three in Houston; 22 in Palmer; 43 in Wasilla; two in Willow; two in Nome; one in Douglas; four in Juneau; one in Ketchikan; one in Wrangell; and one in Unalaska.
Among communities smaller than 1,000 people not named to protect privacy, there was one in the northern Kenai Peninsula Borough; one in the southern Kenai Peninsula Borough; three in the Yukon-Koyukuk Census Area; one in the Mat-Su Borough; one in the Nome Census Area; two in the Northwest Arctic Borough; and two in the Dillingham Census Area.
There were also eight new cases reported in nonresidents: three in Wasilla, and five in unidentified regions 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, 3.17% came back positive.
Note: the state no longer updates its coronavirus dashboard on the weekends, and will instead include those numbers in Monday’s report.
— Annie Berman