More than 1,100 new COVID-19 cases reported in Alaska over the weekend

COVID-19 hospitalizations continue to stress Alaska’s hospital resources.
Published: Aug. 23, 2021 at 6:41 PM AKDT
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - More than 1,100 new COVID-19 infections were reported by the state for this past weekend, as high rates of COVID-19 hospitalizations continue to stress Alaska’s health care system.

The Alaska Department of Health and Social Services on Monday reported 1,110 new cases of COVID-19 over the last three days. There were 548 new cases on Friday, 328 cases on Saturday and 234 on Sunday, according to the state health department.

The state reported no additional deaths of Alaska residents related to the virus, leaving the total number of COVID-19-related deaths for state residents at 406.

As of Monday, the state reported there are 126 people currently being hospitalized with COVID-19 statewide. Of those, 27 people are sick enough to be on ventilators.

On Friday, several Anchorage area doctors called upon members of the Anchorage Assembly to take action, warning that “we are on the verge of a hospital system collapse.” Hospital administrators have said the increase of COVID-19 hospitalizations on top of staffing shortages, burnout and elective procedures is putting stress on resources and capacity.

On Friday, Bartlett Regional Hospital in Juneau became the latest to change is policies of surgery and visitations in response to a growing number of COVID-19 hospitalizations. The hospital will require visitors to wear masks while inside the building, according to a Friday press release. Visitors must also remain in patient rooms or designated treatment or waiting areas.

Inpatients are allowed two visitors over the course of their stay, according to the release — one per day. Outpatients are allowed to have one visitor. No visitors are being allowed in the emergency department.

Additionally, Bartlett Regional Hospital will also evaluate all surgeries with predictable inpatient stays to determine their level of urgency, and will postpone certain elective procedures that will need inpatient care, with exceptions made on a case-by-case basis.

“The surge of COVID-19 infections is concerning,” said Chief Executive Officer Rose Lawhorne in the release. “We see increased deaths and serious illness related to this infection, particularly in the unvaccinated population.

The state’s hospital data dashboard shows that, as of Sunday, there were three adult ICU beds left available in Anchorage, and 27 adult ICU beds left available statewide.

The statewide alert level, which is based on the average daily case rate over the last seven days per 100,000 people, is still high at 436.3 cases per 100,000. Any average daily case rate greater than 100 puts a community into the high alert level, which indicates widespread transmission of the virus.

As of Monday, the state’s vaccine monitoring dashboard shows that nearly 60% of all Alaskans age 12 and older have gotten at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, and that 53.8% are fully vaccinated.

The Juneau region still has the highest rate of vaccination out of the major regions of the state, with 76% of people 12 and older there being fully vaccinated. State data shows that the Kenai Peninsula Borough and the Matanuska-Susitna Borough remain the two least vaccinated regions of the state.

On Monday, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration gave full approval to the Pfizer vaccine for COVID-19, which had previously been being administered under emergency approval.

Of the 1,110 new COVID-19 cases reported by the state Monday, 1,050 of them were identified among residents of the following communities:

  • Anchorage: 369
  • Wasilla: 62
  • Juneau: 55
  • Eagle River: 47
  • Palmer: 40
  • Fairbanks: 39
  • Nome Census Area: 38
  • Bethel Census Area: 33
  • Kodiak: 32
  • Homer: 31
  • Soldotna: 31
  • Kenai: 30
  • Utqiagvik: 21
  • Chugiak: 20
  • Bethel: 16
  • Kusilvak Census Area: 15
  • Anchor Point: 13
  • North Pole: 11
  • Sitka: 11
  • Valdez: 10
  • Northwest Arctic Borough: 9
  • Craig: 7
  • Seward: 7
  • Copper River Census Area: 6
  • Haines: 6
  • Wrangell: 6
  • Fairbanks North Star Borough: 5
  • Ketchikan: 5
  • North Slope Borough: 5
  • Prince of Wales-Hyder Census Area: 5
  • Sterling: 5
  • Dillingham: 4
  • Sutton-Alpine: 4
  • Yakutat plus Hoonah-Angoon: 4
  • Yukon-Koyukuk Census Area: 4
  • Kenai Peninsula Borough North: 3
  • Kenai Peninsula Borough South: 3
  • Kotzebue: 3
  • Mat-Su Borough: 3
  • Metlakatla: 3
  • Unalaska: 3
  • Willow: 3
  • Douglas: 2
  • Nikiski: 2
  • Nome: 2
  • Southeast Fairbanks Census Area: 2
  • Tok: 2
  • Aleutians East Borough: 1
  • Chevak: 1
  • Cordova: 1
  • Denali Borough: 1
  • Dillingham Census Area: 1
  • Girdwood: 1
  • Healy: 1
  • Houston: 1
  • Kodiak Island Borough: 1
  • Petersburg: 1
  • Salcha: 1
  • Skagway: 1
  • Unknown location: 1

The state also reported 60 additional nonresident cases of COVID-19 on Monday — 16 in Anchorage, six in Juneau, four in Kodiak, four in unknown parts of the state, three in Bristol Bay plus Lake and Peninsula, three in the Denali Borough, three in Healy, three in Prudhoe Bay, three in Sitka, two in Fairbanks, two in Seward, two in Valdez and one each in the Bethel Census Area, Copper River Census Area, Homer, Ketchikan, Palmer, Southeast Fairbanks Census Area, Soldotna, Wasilla and Wrangell.

Since the pandemic began, the state has conducted more than 2.66 million COVID-19 tests and currently has a seven-day average positivity rate of 7.1%.

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