Alaska surpasses 1,000 new COVID-19 cases two days in a row

Thursday’s case count marks the second-highest number of cases in a single day
Published: Sep. 16, 2021 at 2:32 PM AKDT
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - Following Wednesday’s record-breaking count of the highest number of new COVID-19 cases reported in a single day, Alaska has once again surpassed 1,000 cases.

The Alaska Department of Health and Social Services reported 1,053 new COVID-19 cases, 26 of which are among nonresidents. The case count on Thursday is the second-highest number of cases reported in a single day, surpassing the state’s previous No. 2 single-day record of 933 confirmed cases reported last December.

The state did not report any new resident deaths on Thursday, according to the health department’s coronavirus data hub. A total of 453 Alaska residents and 15 nonresidents have died with COVID-19 since the pandemic began in this state, according to health department data.

The state’s hospital data dashboard on Thursday showed that as of Wednesday there were at least 206 people being hospitalized with COVID-19 statewide. It also showed that as of Wednesday there were no adult ICU beds left available in Anchorage. There were 14 left open statewide, the data show.

Of the 206 COVID-19 hospitalizations, the data show 109 of them were in Anchorage alone.

Alaska’s largest hospital, Providence Alaska Medical Center in Anchorage, announced it has begun rationing care by prioritizing treatment and resources for the patients who have the potential to most benefit from them due to the rise in COVID-19 cases. The rationing of care was instituted because the hospital is experiencing demands on acute care that are exceeding its capacity, according to a statement from the hospital.

Other hospitals, such as Bartlett Regional Hospital in Juneau and Fairbanks Memorial Hospital, are requiring staff to be vaccinated for employment. Bartlett announced Thursday that its staff “must be fully vaccinated against the COVID-19 virus” by Dec. 15. The Fairbanks hospital is requiring staff to have their first dose of a vaccine by Oct. 1.

Providence and several other hospitals have also begun to restrict visitation access due to the rise of coronavirus cases in the state. For the first time in the pandemic, Alaska’s hospital system as a whole was raised to the high alert level last week due to the number of them that are unable to accept additional patients.

Gov. Mike Dunleavy has also made a change through his rhetoric by “strongly” urging Alaskans to get vaccinated, which was considered a big change in his views against the pandemic.

According to the state’s vaccine monitoring dashboard, close to 57% of eligible Alaskans age 12 and older are now fully vaccinated, and about 62% have gotten at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. Data show that just over 47% of Alaska’s total population is fully vaccinated.

Since the pandemic began, the state has processed more than 2.9 million COVID-19 tests, and on Thursday set a new record for the highest positivity rate so far, with a seven-day average rate of 9.71%. The previous highest positivity rate before this week was 9.31% back in November 2020.

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