592 new COVID-19 cases reported in Alaska on Friday
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - The state reported close to 600 new COVID-19 infections on Friday as hospitalizations due to the virus remain higher than they were during the case surge Alaska experienced last winter.
The state reports new COVID-19 cases every weekday, excluding holidays. Monday’s Labor Day holiday means the next COVID-19 report from the state health department will come out on Tuesday, Sept. 7.
On Friday, the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services reported 592 new COVID-19 cases, and no additional deaths. Since the start of the pandemic in Alaska, the state has reported a total of 435 Alaska resident deaths related to COVID-19 and 13 nonresident deaths.
The health department’s hospital data dashboard shows there are 165 people being hospitalized with COVID-19 statewide. For the better part of this week, the state set new records for its number of hospitalized COVID-19 patients, with the Alaska State Hospital and Nursing Home Association reporting a high of at least 169 hospitalizations on Thursday.
On Friday, state data showed there are 23 people currently on ventilators, and that as of Thursday there were just three adult ICU beds left open in Anchorage. Statewide, there were 15 still available.
The state’s hospitals have been operating at or near capacity for weeks now, and health care workers have pleaded with the public and state government leaders to help lessen the strain. The situation is attributed to the increasing numbers of patients coming in sick with COVID-19, added on top of the already busy summer season, staff burnout and staffing shortages.
“Alaska’s health care system is in crisis and we need action now, especially if the surge gets worse over the coming days and weeks,” Jared Kosin, president and CEO of the Alaska State Hospital and Nursing Home Association, told a a House of Representatives committee hearing on Thursday.
Much of Alaska’s current COVID-19 surge is being driven by the highly contagious delta variant. The most recent situation report from the Alaska Sequencing Consortium showed that 99% of all COVID-19 cases in the state that were sequenced the week starting Aug. 8 were found to be the delta variant.
Additionally, more people who are fully vaccinated are contracting COVID-19 than before. Still, the overwhelming majority of cases, hospitalizations and deaths are among unvaccinated people. A monthly COVID-19 update from the state health department shows that 80% of all COVID-19 hospitalizations in the month of July were unvaccinated people.
In April, the report shows that just over 5% of COVID-19 cases were in people who were already vaccinated. For the month of July, 29.6% of cases were in fully vaccinated people. Data from the state health department shows that 87% of deaths of Alaska residents from January through Aug. 28 were among people who were not vaccinated.
Of the 592 COVID-19 cases reported Friday, 579 of them were among Alaska residents of the following communities:
- Anchorage: 225
- Wasilla: 45
- Eagle River: 32
- Palmer: 25
- Utqiagvik: 25
- Homer: 24
- Juneau: 20
- Seward: 15
- Anchor Point: 14
- Soldotna: 14
- Kodiak: 12
- Copper River Census Area: 10
- Prince of Wales-Hyder Census Area: 8
- Dillingham Census Area: 7
- Fairbanks: 7
- Nome Census Area: 7
- Northwest Arctic Borough: 7
- Chugiak: 6
- Kenai: 6
- Ketchikan: 6
- Aleutians East Borough: 5
- Bristol Bay plus Lake and Peninsula: 5
- Kusilvak Census Area: 5
- Craig: 4
- Dillingham: 4
- Valdez: 4
- Houston: 3
- Kenai Peninsula Borough North: 3
- North Pole: 3
- Petersburg: 3
- Unalaska: 3
- Big Lake: 2
- Girdwood: 2
- Kotzebue: 2
- Sterling: 2
- Willow: 2
- Yukon-Koyukuk Census Area: 2
- Bethel: 1
- Bethel Census Area: 1
- Delta Junction: 1
- Denali Borough: 1
- Healy: 1
- Kenai Peninsula Borough South: 1
- Matanuska-Susitna Borough: 1
- North Slope Borough: 1
- Sitka: 1
- Yakutat plus Hoonah-Angoon: 1
The state also reported an additional 13 nonresident cases on Friday — three in unknown parts of the state, three in Healy, three in Juneau and one each in Anchorage, the Denali Borough, Nome and Palmer.
On Friday, the state’s vaccine monitoring dashboard showed that 55.4% of all eligible Alaskans age 12 and older are now fully vaccinated. The data shows that just over 61% have gotten at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.
Since the pandemic began, the state has conducted more than 2.77 million COVID-19 tests, and currently has a seven-day average positivity rate of 6.91%
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