Alaska on Friday reported 109 cases of COVID-19 and no new deaths related to the virus, according to the Department of Health and Social Services.
Alaska’s average daily case counts are now trending down significantly statewide, though a few regions in the state are still in the highest alert category based on their current per capita rate of infection. For the first time since July, Anchorage this week moved from high to intermediate alert status based on falling case rates in the municipality.
The CDC this week updated its guidance to say that fully vaccinated people can largely stop wearing masks outdoors and indoors, except in crowded settings like buses, planes, hospitals, prisons and homeless shelters. Health officials continue to encourage Alaskans to follow local mandates and business-specific rules, and to get vaccinated against COVID-19 to prevent further spread.
The Anchorage Assembly on Friday revoked the city’s mask mandate, effective immediately.
This week, state health officials also announced that anyone 12 and older who lives or works in Alaska can now receive a COVID-19 vaccination. Previously, only those 16 and older in Alaska had been eligible for the vaccine.
Parents and others 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 from 9 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. on weekdays and 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on weekends. Only Pfizer’s vaccine is approved for children as young as 12; the Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines are approved only for those 18 and older.
By Friday, 312,250 people — 53% of all Alaskans 16 and older — had received at least their first dose. At least 273,208 people — about 47% of Alaskans 16 and older — were considered fully vaccinated, according to the state’s vaccine monitoring dashboard.
In total, 347 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 36 people with confirmed or suspected cases of COVID-19 in hospitals throughout the state, far below a peak in late 2020.
Of the 108 cases reported Friday among Alaska residents, there were 22 in Anchorage plus four in Eagle River; one in Anchor Point; three in Homer; two in Kenai; two in Soldotna; eight in Fairbanks plus two in North Pole; three in Palmer; 14 in Wasilla; three in Juneau; 25 in Ketchikan; one in Metlakatla; five in Bethel; two in Hooper Bay; and one in an unidentified region of the state.
In smaller communities that are not named to protect residents’ privacy, there was one in the Northwest Arctic Borough; seven in the Yakutat plus Hoonah-Angoon; and two in the Kusilvak Census Area.
One new nonresident case in an unknown region of the state was also identified Friday.
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.
Note: The state no longer updates its coronavirus dashboard over the weekend, and instead includes those numbers in Monday’s report.
— Annie Berman