Alaska reports 8 deaths, more than 800 new COVID-19 cases Wednesday

Deaths were identified through certificate review process, and are not recent
Published: Oct. 20, 2021 at 7:37 PM AKDT
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - There were 830 additional cases of COVID-19 reported in Alaska on Wednesday, with 821 of those reported among Alaska residents.

The Alaska Department of Health and Social Services also reported eight deaths Wednesday, although each of those reported deaths were not recent and were identified through the death certificate review process, which can take up to several weeks. Among the additional COVID-19 deaths were four Anchorage residents, two Fairbanks residents and a Soldotna and Juneau resident. They ranged in age from their 50s to over 80.

COVID-19 hospitalizations also remain high in Alaska, with the state’s hospital data dashboard showing 206 people hospitalized with COVID-19 as of Tuesday. In Anchorage, only six ICU beds remain available and there are 15 COVID-19 patients hospitalized in Anchorage who require ventilators. Across Alaska, only 15 ICU beds are available and 29 total patients are on ventilators.

Alaska for several weeks led the nation in the rate of new cases per capita, but Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data on Wednesday shows that the state now ranks fourth behind Montana, Wyoming and Idaho.

The statewide alert level remains high at 756.48 cases per 100,000 residents over the last week. Only five regions in the state currently have lower levels of sustained infection. Skagway, Haines and the Aleutians East region are at a low alert level, Wrangell City and Borough is at a moderate alert level and Petersburg is at a substantial alert level.

Anchorage led all cities in terms of new COVID-19 cases, with 248 reported on Wednesday. Of the nine nonresident cases identified, three are in Anchorage, two were identified on the Kenai Peninsula, and one each were reported in Juneau, Soldotna, Uqtiaġvik, and the Aleutians East region.

There have been 41,684 COVID-19 tests conducted in Alaska over the last week and 10.3 % of those tests have returned positive results. Health experts say a positivity rate of 5% or higher indicates widespread virus transmission.

Currently, 59.6% of all eligible Alaska residents age 12 and older have been fully vaccinated, the state’s vaccine monitoring dashboard shows, and more than 64% have gotten at least an initial dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.

The Bristol Bay plus Lake and Peninsula region leads the state in terms of the number of residents with at least one dose, with a 93% initial vaccination rate while the Southeast Fairbanks Census area maintains the lowest rate of first doses at 39%. Among the major populated regions, Juneau has the highest rate of vaccination among eligible residents at 79.7%, while the Matanuska-Susitna Borough maintains the lowest at 42.7%.

Of the 830 cases reported Wednesday, 821 were reported among residents in the following communities:

  • Anchorage: 248
  • Bethel Census Area: 65
  • Fairbanks: 56
  • Wasilla: 55
  • Eagle River: 53
  • Kusilvak Census Area: 32
  • North Pole: 31
  • Kenai: 29
  • Kodiak: 26
  • Soldotna: 25
  • Juneau: 20
  • Palmer: 19
  • Fairbanks North Star Borough: 16
  • Ketchikan: 15
  • Homer: 13
  • Dillingham Census Area: 10
  • Chugiak: 9
  • Kenai Peninsula Borough North: 9
  • Utqiaġvik: 8
  • Sutton-Alpine: 7
  • Kodiak Island Borough: 6
  • Anchor Point: 5
  • Delta Junction: 5
  • Sitka: 5
  • Sterling: 5
  • Valdez: 5
  • Willow: 5
  • Kenai Peninsula Borough South: 4
  • Copper River Census Area: 3
  • Dillingham: 3
  • Salcha: 3
  • Seward: 3
  • Tok: 3
  • Bethel: 2
  • Fritz Creek: 2
  • Girdwood: 2
  • Hooper Bay: 2
  • Nome: 2
  • Bristol Bay plus Lake and Peninsula: 1
  • Denali Borough: 1
  • Houston: 1
  • Kotzebue: 1
  • Matanuska-Susitna Borough: 1
  • Nikiski: 1
  • Nome Census Area: 1
  • Prince Of Wales-Hyder Census Area: 1
  • Southeast Fairbanks Census Area: 1
  • Yakutat plus Hoonah-Angoon: 1

Of the nine nonresident cases reported Wednesday, one from the Aleutians East region was attributed to the seafood industry and the purposes for all eight remaining nonresident cases remain under investigation. Additionally, 16 resident cases and one nonresident case was subtracted from the Department of Health and Social Services dashboard data through data verification procedures.

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