Alaska News

Alaska reports 7 more COVID-19 deaths, 362 new cases Tuesday and relief at some hospitals

Alaska on Tuesday reported a continued decline in daily COVID-19 case counts, with 362 new cases.

During much of September and October, case counts were usually somewhere between 500 and 1,000 each day. Recent daily case counts have more frequently been in the 500s, 400s and 300s.

As of Tuesday, Alaska ranked seventh nationally for its COVID-19 case rate over the past week, at 375 per 100,000 people. While Alaska still ranks among states with a much higher case rate than the national average of 176.4 cases per 100,000 people, Alaska no longer leads the nation as it had for several weeks.

The recent drop in cases likely contributed to relief at the state’s hospitals, where 143 people were hospitalized with the virus by Tuesday, said Jared Kosin, president and CEO of the Alaska State Hospital and Nursing Home Association.

Alaska’s hospitals had been stretched thin for weeks amid strain from many patients with COVID-19 needing care. As the situation worsened, the state contracted several hundred out-of-state health care workers and some hospitals activated crisis standards of care to deal with demand.

However, by Tuesday, Kosin said Alaska’s hospitals are in a much better place than they were three weeks ago.

“It’s far more manageable,” he said.

[Alaska reports 1,089 new coronavirus infections and two COVID-19 deaths over weekend]

Kosin cautioned that spikes at certain hospitals are still occurring and the state is still hovering at around 140 hospitalized COVID-19 patients, which is close to the same number as a previous virus peak in December 2020.

He also noted that the hospitalization numbers often don’t include people who are recovering from the disease and need continued care, oftentimes several weeks after they are admitted, which can also add strain at the hospitals.

The state reported seven additional deaths related to COVID-19 among residents Tuesday. In total, the virus-related deaths of 810 Alaskans and 30 nonresidents have been recorded since the start of the pandemic in March 2020.

The deaths reported Tuesday a man from the Kusilvak Census Area in his 60s, a woman from the combined Hoonah-Angoon and Yakutat region in her 40s, an Anchorage man in his 70s, an Anchorage man in his 60s, an Anchorage woman in her 60s, an Anchorage woman in her 30s and a Juneau man in his 20s.

So far, 60% of Alaskans ages 5 and older had received their first dose of the vaccine while 54% were considered fully vaccinated.