Alaska on Friday reported 116 new coronavirus infections and no deaths related to COVID-19, according to data from the Department of Health and Social Services.
Alaska’s average daily case counts are trending down statewide, with some pockets of rising case levels. A surge of coronavirus-related hospitalizations in the Fairbanks region is straining hospital capacity there; one COVID-positive patient in their 20s recently died, officials said this week. At least 23 people have tested positive in an outbreak linked to a Ketchikan wrestling tournament.
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 Friday, there were 45 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 Friday, 337,630 people — about 55% of all Alaskans eligible for a shot — had received at least their first dose. At least 288,320 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 26th place among all 50 states, territories, 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 114 cases reported among Alaska residents on Friday, there were 34 in Anchorage, plus one in Chugiak; one in Anchor Point, one in Homer, and four in Soldotna; 13 in Fairbanks and four in North Pole; two in Delta Junction and one in Tok; one in Big Lake, two in Palmer, 13 in Wasilla, and one in Willow; three in Nome; one in Utqiagvik; five in Juneau; 17 in Ketchikan; one in Petersburg; and one in Craig.
In communities with fewer than 1,000 people not named to protect privacy, there was one in a community on the southern Kenai Peninsula, one in the Fairbanks North Star Borough, one in Southeast Fairbanks Census Area, one in Yukon-Koyukuk Census Area, one in Northwest Arctic Borough, one in Prince of Wales-Hyder Census Area, one in Yakutat plus Hoonah-Angoon, and one in Bristol Bay plus Lake and Peninsula boroughs.
There were two cases reported in nonresidents: one in Fairbanks and one in Sitka.
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.
— Zaz Hollander