Alaska on Thursday reported 92 new coronavirus infections and the death of a Fairbanks resident with COVID-19, according to data from the Department of Health and Social Services.
Alaska’s average daily case counts are trending down statewide. However, a surge of coronavirus-related hospitalizations in the Fairbanks region is straining hospital capacity there, and one COVID-positive patient in their 20s recently died, officials said this week.
Additionally, many regions in the state are still in the highest alert category based on their current per capita rate of infection, and 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.
In total, 343 Alaskans and six nonresidents with COVID-19 have died since the pandemic reached the state last spring. Alaska’s death rate per capita remains among the lowest in the country, though the state’s size, health care system and other factors complicate national comparisons.
By Thursday, there were 54 people with confirmed or suspected cases of COVID-19 in hospitals throughout the state, far below a peak in late 2020 but up compared to recent weeks.
Also by Thursday, 336,534 people — about 55% of all Alaskans eligible for a shot — had received at least their first dose. At least 287,041 people — about 48% of Alaskans 16 and older — were considered fully vaccinated, according to the state’s vaccine monitoring dashboard.
Alaska in January led the country in per capita vaccinations, but has now fallen to 23rd place among all 50 states and Washington, D.C., according to data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
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.
Of the 92 cases reported among Alaska residents on Thursday, there were 30 in Anchorage, plus one in Chugiak and two in Eagle River; 13 in Fairbanks; 13 in Wasilla; nine in Ketchikan; seven in North Pole; two in Juneau; two in Delta Junction; two in Soldotna; two in Petersburg; two in Craig; one in Kenai; one in Nikiski; one in Big Lake; and one in Houston.
In communities with fewer than 1,000 people not named to protect privacy, there were two in the Fairbanks North Star Borough and one in the Ketchikan Gateway Borough.
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.
— Annie Berman