3 new deaths, 585 new COVID-19 cases reported over 2 days

Published: Jul. 30, 2021 at 8:52 PM AKDT
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - The state of Alaska reported three more recent deaths of residents related to COVID-19 on Friday, as well as 585 new infections of the virus as cases continue to surge close to their peak levels of this past winter.

The Alaska Department of Health and Social Services reported there were 319 new COVID-19 cases on Wednesday and 266 new cases on Thursday. Starting this coming Monday, the department will return to reporting new cases every weekday, excluding holidays, “due to the statewide alert level being at high for two weeks.”

Three Alaska residents whose deaths were tied to COVID-19 died over the last two days, the state health department reported. They were a Palmer man in his 70s, an Anchorage woman in her 50s and an Anchorage man in his 40s.

The number of people hospitalized with COVID-19 in the state continues to rise, with 101 people diagnosed with the virus currently in hospitals statewide, the department reported. There are also two people being hospitalized with suspected cases, and 16 people hospitalized for COVID-19 are currently on ventilators.

Hospital administrators issued a recent plea to Alaskans to get vaccinated as their bed capacity gets closer to critical. As of Friday, state data shows there are just five adult ICU beds available in Anchorage out of 61, and 30 adult non-ICU beds available about 517. Statewide, there are 24 adult ICU beds available out of 118.

The statewide alert level — based on the average daily case rate over the last 14 days per 100,000 people — remains high. Alaska has an average daily case rate of 27.7 per 100,000, and the Municipality of Anchorage has an average case rate of 29.4 per 100,000. According to the state health department, the high alert level indicates widespread transmission of the virus.

All regions of the state are now in the high alert level — none are in the low or intermediate alert level.

On Friday, the Yukon-Kuskokwim Health Corporation reported it has evidence of widespread community transmission in Bethel. In response to the community spread, the corporation is now recommending YK-Delta residents return to wearing masks “regardless of vaccination status.”

Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson took it a step further, with the installation commander announcing on Friday that anyone who works at, lives at or visits the base is now required to wear a face mask.

“Based off the substantial or high community transmission rate within our local area, DoD requires all Service Members, Federal employees, onsite contractor employees, and visitors, regardless of vaccination status, to wear a mask in an indoor setting on the installation and other facilities owned, leased or otherwise controlled by DOD,” the policy memorandum states.

Of the 585 new cases reported Friday, 536 of them were identified among Alaska residents of the following communities:

  • Anchorage: 173
  • Sitka: 36
  • Fairbanks: 31
  • Kenai: 30
  • Wasilla: 25
  • Juneau: 23
  • Palmer: 20
  • Soldotna: 20
  • Cordova: 19
  • Eagle River: 18
  • Seward: 14
  • Bethel Census Area: 12
  • Ketchikan: 12
  • Kusilvak Census Area: 12
  • Kenai Peninsula Borough North: 10
  • North Pole: 8
  • Kodiak: 7
  • Bethel: 6
  • Chugiak: 6
  • Nome Census Area: 5
  • Prince of Wales-Hyder Census Area: 5
  • Nikiski: 4
  • Valdez: 4
  • Big Lake: 3
  • Copper River Census Area: 3
  • Sterling: 3
  • Tok: 3
  • Unalaska: 3
  • Utqiagvik: 3
  • Chevak: 2
  • Chugach Census Area: 2
  • Homer: 2
  • Metlakatla: 2
  • Aleutians West Census Area: 1
  • Bristol Bay plus Lake and Peninsula: 1
  • Craig: 1
  • Douglas: 1
  • Fairbanks North Star Borough: 1
  • Girdwood: 1
  • Kenai Peninsula Borough South: 1
  • Kotzebue: 1
  • Skagway: 1
  • Yukon-Koyukuk Census Area: 1

The state also reported 49 new nonresident cases of COVID-19 on Friday — 12 in Anchorage, five in Prince of Wales-Hyder Census Area, five seafood industry workers in Unalaska, five in Wasilla, four in Seward, four in Sitka, three in Soldotna, two in Fairbanks, two in Kodiak, two in the oil industry in Prudhoe Bay, and one each in Healy, Kenai, Kenai Peninsula Borough North, Ketchikan and Skagway.

As of Friday, the state’s vaccine monitoring dashboard showed that 57.6% of Alaskans age 12 and older have gotten at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, while 52.3% are fully vaccinated. In the Juneau region, more than 74% of residents 12 and older are fully vaccinated, 54.2% are fully vaccinated in the Anchorage region and 36.6% are fully vaccinated in the Matanuska-Susitna region.

The state has reported a total of 382 Alaska resident deaths that have been tied to COVID-19.

Alaska has conducted more than 2.49 million COVID-19 tests since the pandemic began, and currently has a seven-day average positivity rate of 5.56%.

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