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Alaska reports 10 new deaths, more than 700 COVID-19 cases Tuesday

COVID-19
COVID-19(KFYR)
Published: Sep. 28, 2021 at 6:10 PM AKDT
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - Alaska reported more than 700 new COVID-19 infections on Tuesday and 10 additional deaths as the current surge driven by the delta variant continues and the state works to catch up on a data backlog.

The Alaska Department of Health and Social Services reported 726 new COVID-19 cases on Tuesday, 694 of which are among Alaska residents. Over the weekend, the state continued to report new case numbers of more than 1,000 a day.

State health officials have said high daily case counts are likely to continue as Alaska works through a backlog of COVID-19 data. The newly reported cases each day are a mix of old and new cases, they said last week.

On Tuesday, the state reported 10 additional COVID-19 related deaths of Alaska residents, all of which were recent, according to the state health department. They were an Anchorage woman 80 or older, two Anchorage women in their 70s, three Anchorage men in their 50s, an Anchorage woman in her 50s, an Anchorage woman in her 40s, a Kenai woman in her 60s and a woman in her 50s from the Southeast Fairbanks Census Area.

The state reported 44 new deaths last Friday, and said those were a mix of recent and older deaths identified through the death certificate review process, which can take several weeks. Since the pandemic started in Alaska in March 2020, a total of 542 Alaska residents and 21 nonresidents have died with COVID-19, state data shows.

Alaska has also been reporting record high numbers of people hospitalized with the virus, which is not due to the data backlog. The state’s largest hospital is operating under crisis standards of care — meaning patient care and treatment can be prioritized for the people who stand the best chance at benefitting — and Gov. Mike Dunleavy enabled crisis standards of care for the whole state last week.

On Tuesday, the state’s hospital monitoring dashboard showed that, as of Monday, there were 209 people hospitalized with COVID-19 statewide. Thirty-three people, both COVID-positive and those suspected of having the virus, are on ventilators. The data shows that nearly 19% of all people currently hospitalized in Alaska are being hospitalized with COVID-19.

The dashboard also shows that, as of Monday, there were six adult ICU beds left open in Anchorage and 22 left available statewide.

Alaska continues to have the highest rate of new COVID-19 cases per capita in the entire country, according to a tracker from the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention. The state’s seven-day average positivity rate for COVID-19 tests is just over 9%.

The surge is largely being driven by the highly contagious delta variant. The most recent situation report from the Alaska Sequencing Consortium shows that 97% of the COVID-19 cases in Alaska that were sequenced the week beginning Aug. 22 were the delta variant.

Alaska hospital administrators also continue to report that the majority of their hospitalized COVID-19 patients are not vaccinated. Data from the state’s most recent monthly report from the state Section of Epidemiology shows that while the number of vaccine breakthrough cases of COVID-19 are climbing in Alaska, the vast majority of cases, hospitalizations and deaths are in unvaccinated people.

The reports shows that in the month of July, about 80% of COVID-19 hospitalizations in Alaska were among unvaccinated people.

According to the state’s vaccine monitoring dashboard, just over 59% of all eligible Alaskans age 12 and older are now fully vaccinated, and that 63% have gotten at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.

Even with many eligible people still unvaccinated, Alaska providers are now offering booster shots to certain categories of people after they were approved at the federal level last week. The booster shots are only available for the Pfizer vaccine.

Of the 726 new COVID-19 cases reported Tuesday, 694 of them were identified among Alaska residents of the following communities:

  • Anchorage: 211
  • Fairbanks: 85
  • Wasilla: 37
  • Kodiak: 36
  • Utqiagvik: 30
  • Eagle River: 28
  • Juneau: 23
  • Bethel Census Area: 21
  • North Pole: 21
  • Palmer: 17
  • Bethel: 14
  • Sitka: 11
  • Kenai: 10
  • Ketchikan: 10
  • Seward: 9
  • Homer: 8
  • North Slope Borough: 8
  • Valdez: 8
  • Chugiak: 7
  • Fairbanks North Star Borough: 7
  • Kusilvak Census Area: 7
  • Anchor Point: 6
  • Chevak: 6
  • Copper River Census Area: 6
  • Unalaska: 6
  • Kotzebue: 5
  • Southeast Fairbanks Census Area: 5
  • Nome Census Area: 4
  • Soldotna: 4
  • Yakutat plus Hoonah-Angoon: 4
  • Dillingham Census Area: 3
  • Healy: 3
  • Nikiski: 3
  • Northwest Arctic Borough: 3
  • Cordova: 2
  • Delta Junction: 2
  • Dillingham: 2
  • Houston: 2
  • Kenai Peninsula Borough North: 2
  • Nome: 2
  • Skagway: 2
  • Willow: 2
  • Aleutians East Borough: 1
  • Big Lake: 1
  • Bristol Bay plus Lake and Peninsula: 1
  • Craig: 1
  • Douglas: 1
  • Fritz Creek: 1
  • Girdwood: 1
  • Hooper Bay: 1
  • Ketchikan Gateway Borough: 1
  • Kodiak Island Borough: 1
  • Matanuska-Susitna Borough: 1
  • Sterling: 1

The state also announced 32 additional nonresident cases of COVID-19 throughout the state on Tuesday.

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