Alaska on Tuesday reported 62 new coronavirus infections and two deaths related to COVID-19, according to data from the Department of Health and Social Services. The two deaths involved a Fairbanks man in his 50s and a Palmer man in his 70s, the state health department said.
Alaska’s average daily case counts are trending down statewide, though some 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.
In total, 345 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 Tuesday, there were 42 people with confirmed or suspected cases of COVID-19 in hospitals throughout the state, far below a peak in late 2020.
Also by Tuesday, 308,056 people — 51.8% of all Alaskans eligible for a shot — had received at least their first dose. At least 268,516 people — about 46.1% 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 28th place among U.S. states, territories and Washington, D.C., according to data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Anyone 16 and older who lives or works in Alaska is currently eligible to get vaccinated. Following an emergency-use authorization of Pfizer’s vaccine from the FDA, state officials said children 12 and up could begin getting vaccinated against the virus as early as Wednesday.
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 58 cases reported Tuesday among Alaska residents, there were 12 in Anchorage plus one in Eagle River, nine in Palmer, eight in Wasilla, five in Ketchikan, four in Kenai, two in Fairbanks, two in Anchor Point, two in Hooper Bay, one in North Pole, one in Nome, one in Juneau and one in Metlakatla.
In smaller communities that are not named to protect residents’ privacy, there were two in the Bethel Census Area, two in the Kusilvak Census Area, one in the Southeast Fairbanks Census Area, one in the Yukon-Koyukuk Census Area, one in the Ketchikan Gateway Borough and one in the Yakutat plus Hoonah-Angoon region.
Four new nonresident cases were also identified: one in Anchorage, one in Homer, one in Prudhoe Bay and one 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.
— Annie Berman