Alaska reports more than 1,200 COVID-19 cases Wednesday as hospitalizations rise

COVID-19.
COVID-19.(CDC)
Published: Oct. 14, 2021 at 12:06 AM EDT
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - The state reported more than 1,200 additional COVID-19 infections on Wednesday as hospitalizations crept back up above 200.

The Alaska Department of Health and Social Services reported 1,239 new COVID-19 cases, 19 of which are among nonresidents. The state did not report any additional COVID-19 deaths on Wednesday. Since the pandemic began in Alaska in March 2020, the state has reported 590 residents and 22 nonresidents whose deaths have been related to the virus.

Alaska still has the highest rate of new cases per capita over the last seven days in the nation, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. That ranking has not changed for the last several weeks as the state reckoned with a COVID-19 surge driven largely by the highly contagious delta variant.

With the addition of Wednesday’s case count, state health department data shows only a 1% decrease in cases for the week of Oct. 6-12 compared to the week before. The more than 1,200 additional cases come after several days of relatively lower case counts, and a day after the Anchorage Assembly passed an emergency ordinance requiring residents to wear masks in public spaces in the municipality for no more than 60 days. Anchorage Mayor Dave Bronson has vetoed the ordinance, and the assembly is set to address possibly overriding his veto at a Thursday special meeting.

COVID-19 hospitalizations are also back up slightly after trending down over the last week. The number of people being hospitalized in Alaska with COVID-19 had been hovering in the 180s, but the state’s hospital data dashboard showed Wednesday that, as of Tuesday, that number had climbed to 204.

Of those hospitalized with COVID-19, 26 people are sick enough that they are on a ventilator.

There are 20 hospitals and health care facilities in Alaska for which crisis care standards guidelines have been enacted by the state. Some facilities have begun to ration care while others have said their resources have not yet been stretched to the point where that’s necessary.

The hospital dashboard showed that as of Tuesday, there were four adult ICU beds left open in Anchorage, and 21 still available statewide. Hospitals have gotten some relief in the form of out-of-state health care workers brought up from the Lower 48 through a state contract with a federal agency.

The state is still experiencing a high rate of positive COVID-19 test results. Testing data shows that Alaska has a positivity rate of 10.92% over the last seven days. Health experts say 5% is the threshold that indicates high transmission of COVID-19.

According to the state’s vaccine monitoring dashboard, close to 59% of all eligible Alaskans age 12 and older are now fully vaccinated, and 64% have gotten at least an initial dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.

Of the 1,239 new COVID-19 cases reported Wednesday, 1,220 of them were identified among Alaska residents of the following communities:

  • Anchorage: 383
  • Wasilla: 190
  • Fairbanks: 166
  • Palmer: 78
  • North Pole: 47
  • Soldotna: 40
  • Juneau: 39
  • Bethel Census Area: 38
  • Eagle River: 34
  • Kenai: 22
  • Chugiak: 15
  • Homer: 15
  • Big Lake: 13
  • Bristol Bay plus Lake and Peninsula: 13
  • Kusilvak Census Area: 11
  • Yukon-Koyukuk Census Area: 11
  • Dillingham: 9
  • Ketchikan: 8
  • Matanuska-Susitna Borough: 7
  • Nome: 7
  • Sterling: 6
  • Willow: 6
  • Kodiak Island Borough: 5
  • Kotzebue: 5
  • Bethel: 4
  • Kodiak: 4
  • Ester: 3
  • Houston: 3
  • Kenai Peninsula Borough North: 3
  • North Slope Borough: 3
  • Seward: 3
  • Utqiagvik: 3
  • Anchor Point: 2
  • Chugach Census Area: 2
  • Delta Junction: 2
  • Dillingham Census Area: 2
  • Sutton-Alpine: 2
  • Tok: 2
  • Chevak: 1
  • Copper River Census Area: 1
  • Denali Borough: 1
  • Fairbanks North Star Borough: 1
  • Girdwood: 1
  • Haines: 1
  • Ketchikan Gateway Borough: 1
  • Northwest Arctic Borough: 1
  • Prince Of Wales-Hyder Census Area: 1
  • Yakutat plus Hoonah-Angoon: 1

The state also reported 19 additional nonresident COVID-19 cases across Alaska on Wednesday, seven of them in Anchorage and another seven in Kotzebue.

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