Alaska on Friday reported 96 new coronavirus infections identified over two days and no new deaths, according to the state Department of Health and Social Services. The health department now updates its coronavirus dashboard on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.
Alaska’s average daily case counts have been trending down significantly statewide, and the state’s current statewide alert level is low.
A recent report from the state health department showed increased statewide incidence of at least one highly transmissible variant of concern, B.1.1.7, the variant first detected in the United Kingdom in December and in Alaska in January. According to that report, there were 64 new cases of the B.1.1.7 variant identified last week through sequencing efforts. On Friday, the state said another 30 B.1.1.7 cases have been added since the last report.
All three vaccines currently available in Alaska have been shown in clinical trials to be highly effective against this variant, and health officials continue to encourage Alaskans to get vaccinated.
By Friday, roughly 54% of the state’s population age 12 and older had received at least their first dose of the vaccine, while 49% of residents 12 and older were considered fully vaccinated. The state as of this week was averaging about 1,000 new vaccinations per day.
Also by Friday, there were 12 people with confirmed or suspected cases of COVID-19 hospitalized around the state, including five who were on ventilators.
No new deaths were reported. 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.
Eighty-seven of the newly reported cases involved Alaskans, including 28 from Anchorage, 13 from Hooper Bay, nine from Wasilla, six from Eagle River, three from North Pole, three from Tok, two from Chevak, two from Chugiak, two from Craig, two from Fairbanks and one each from Bethel, Delta Junction, Homer, Juneau and Soldotna. Among smaller communities, four residents from the Kusilvak Census Area tested positive, along with three from the Aleutians West Census Area, two from the Bethel Census Area, one from the Copper River Census Area, one from the southern Kenai Peninsula Borough and one from the Yukon-Koyukuk Census Area.
The other nine new cases involved nonresidents: three in Anchorage, two in Fairbanks, one in Juneau and one in the Bristol Bay and Lake and Peninsula region, along with two seafood industry workers in Unalaska.
— Annie Berman