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Alaska News

Tracking COVID-19 in Alaska: 49 cases reported over 2 days and 4 deaths identified in certificate review

  • Author: Anchorage Daily News
  • Updated: June 12
  • Published June 11
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Alaska on Friday reported 49 new coronavirus infections identified over the last two days, plus four deaths linked to COVID-19, according to the state Department of Health and Social Services.

All four deaths occurred in April and were identified through a standard review of death certificates. Of the Alaskans who died, two were from Wasilla, one was from Fairbanks and one was from Sitka.

Health officials review death certificates that have been coded as COVID-related, and that process can sometimes result in a delay between when the death occurs and when the state reports it. CDC specialists rely on cause of death noted by a medical professional to certify each death.

This reporting process has been in place for decades and is considered the most accurate way COVID-19 deaths are tracked, health officials have said.

In total, 366 Alaskans and seven 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.

Of the 46 cases reported Friday among residents, there were 16 from Anchorage, three from Juneau, three from Kenai, two from Homer, two from Palmer, two from Tok, two from Wrangell and one each from Bethel, Craig, Delta Junction, Fairbanks, Hooper Bay, Ketchikan, Metlakatla, Sitka and Sterling.

Among smaller communities not identified to protect residents’ privacy, there were three from the Bethel Census Area, two from the Prince of Wales-Hyder Census Area, one from the Bristol Bay plus Lake and Peninsula region and one from the Denali Borough.

Three new nonresident cases were identified, one each in Anchorage, Eagle River and Fairbanks.

Alaska’s average daily case counts have been trending down significantly statewide. Data from this week showed that on average over the past two weeks, there were less than five cases per 100,000, putting Alaska at a low alert level.

By Friday, about 54% of Alaskans 12 and older had received at least their first dose of vaccine. About 48% of eligible Alaskans were considered fully vaccinated, according to the state.

Also by Friday, there were 17 people with confirmed or suspected cases of COVID-19 in hospitals throughout the state, far below a peak in late 2020.

Since Jan. 1, 98% of all COVID-19 hospitalizations in Alaska have been among people who were unvaccinated, according to a summary update from the state health department.

The state has switched to updating its coronavirus dashboard three times a week, on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.

— Annie Berman