3 deaths, 406 new COVID-19 cases reported in Alaska on Thursday

(Hawaii News Now/file)
Published: Aug. 12, 2021 at 5:23 PM AKDT
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - The state has reported three additional deaths of Alaska residents related to COVID-19, as well as 406 new COVID-19 infections on Thursday as hospitalizations continue to climb.

The Alaska Department of Health and Social Services reported four additional COVID-19 hospitalizations on Thursday along with the three deaths, which it said were recent. The people who recently died were a Ketchikan woman who was 80 or older, a Wasilla man in his 70s and an Anchorage man in his 50s. A total of 395 Alaska resident deaths have been related to COVID-19, the state reports.

There are currently 116 people being hospitalized with COVID-19 statewide, according to Jared Kosin, president and CEO of the Alaska State Hospital and Nursing Home Association. The state’s hospital data dashboard initially had a different number over the last few days due to a reporting error by a long-term care facility. The error was discovered and corrected, Kosin said Thursday.

While the state’s dashboard has now also been corrected, it shows 115 COVID-19 hospitalizations. Kosin clarified that one additional facility in the state had updated its hospitalization count on Thursday after the daily cutoff for when the state website updates, for a true total of 116.

As cases continue to rise, communities respond in various ways. The City of Nome put out a call on Wednesday urging residents to return to wearing masks when indoors in public. The public service announcement said there were 50 active COVID-19 cases in the Bering Strait region.

Also on Wednesday, the Soldotna City Council became the latest municipality in Alaska to require masks to a certain extent once again. The council members approved a resolution in a 5-1 vote that requires the public wear a mask while inside city-owned buildings as long as transmission of COVID-19 remains high on the central Kenai Peninsula.

Council member Dave Carey said the measure is meant to protect the city’s staff from undue possibility of illness, as well as to protect children who are not eligible for the vaccine.

“This is not a resolution I feel like a lot of people want to have to do including myself,” said council member Justin Ruffridge during the meeting. “However, (I’m) bringing this as a sponsor today just because it’s important that we take care of those indoor settings and the employees that we have in our city.”

The peninsula is second to last in terms of vaccination rates for the state’s major regions according to the state health department, ahead of only the Matanuska-Susitna Borough. The alert level on the peninsula remains high, with an average daily case rate over the last seven days of 373.3 cases per 100,000.

Of the 406 new COVID-19 cases reported Thursday, 378 of them were identified among residents of the following communities:

  • Anchorage: 139
  • Ketchikan: 35
  • Eagle River: 21
  • Haines: 19
  • Fairbanks: 18
  • Juneau: 17
  • Kodiak: 13
  • Kenai: 12
  • Soldotna: 11
  • Chugiak: 10
  • Wasilla: 9
  • North Pole: 8
  • Palmer: 8
  • Homer: 5
  • Sitka: 4
  • Utqiagvik: 4
  • Valdez: 4
  • Yukon-Koyukuk Census Area: 4
  • Anchor Point: 3
  • Craig: 3
  • Prince of Wales-Hyder Census Area: 3
  • Dillingham Census Area: 2
  • Ketchikan Gateway Borough: 2
  • Nikiski: 2
  • Northwest Arctic Borough: 2
  • Bethel Census Area: 1
  • Bristol Bay/Lake and Peninsula: 1
  • Dillingham: 1
  • Fairbanks North Star Borough: 1
  • Healy: 1
  • Hooper Bay: 1
  • Kenai Peninsula Borough South: 1
  • Kenai Peninsula Borough North: 1
  • Kodiak Island Borough: 1
  • Kotzebue: 1
  • Kusilvak Census Area: 1
  • Mat-Su Borough: 1
  • Metlakatla: 1
  • Nome Census Area: 1
  • Seward: 1
  • Skagway: 1
  • Sterling: 1
  • Sutton-Alpine: 1
  • Tok: 1
  • Unknown location: 1

The state also identified 28 additional nonresident cases of COVID-19 on Thursday — 12 in Anchorage, four people associated with the seafood industry in Kodiak, three in Juneau, two in Fairbanks, two in Petersburg, two in Soldotna and one each in the Denali Borough, Sitka and Wasilla.

As of Thursday, the state’s vaccine monitoring dashboard shows that nearly 59% of all Alaskans age 12 and older have gotten at least one dose of a COVID-19, and that 53% are fully vaccinated. The Juneau region remains the most highly vaccinated in the state, with nearly 75% of people 12 and older there fully vaccinated.

In the Municipality of Anchorage, 55% of people 12 and older are fully vaccinated, compared to about 47% in the Fairbanks North Star Borough and 37% in the Mat-Su.

Since the pandemic began, the state has conducted more than 2.57 million COVID-19 tests, and currently has a seven-day average positivity rate of 7.1%.

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