Alaska sets new record for COVID-19 hospitalizations, reports more than 500 cases Wednesday

Published: Oct. 27, 2021 at 4:33 PM AKDT
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - Alaska again set a new record for people hospitalized with COVID-19 on Wednesday, with 243 currently hospitalized with the virus across the state. The state also reported two additional COVID-19 deaths and more than 500 additional COVID-19 infections.

There were two Alaska resident deaths related to COVID-19 reported by the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services on Wednesday. The two deaths occurred in a Fairbanks woman over 80 and an Anchorage man in his 70s.

Since the pandemic began in Alaska, the state has reported a total of 690 Alaska resident COVID-19 deaths and 26 nonresident deaths.

The state health department reported 567 additional cases of COVID-19 on Wednesday, with 560 of those among Alaska residents and seven cases among nonresidents. Alaska continues to experience higher rates of new COVID-19 cases than other states, and still leads the nation for the rate of new cases per capita, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Alaska’s current rate of 688.5 cases per 100,000 people over the last seven days is more than four times the current national case rate.

Pressure on hospitals continues as the state on Wednesday reported a new record high of 243 COVID-19 hospitalizations. The previous record of 242 was reported by the state on Oct. 21.

There are currently 33 patients hospitalized with COVID-19 that are on ventilators, according to the state’s hospital data dashboard, and 20.4% of all hospitalized people in Alaska, or one fifth, are hospitalized with COVID-19.

At least 20 Alaska hospitals and health care facilities are operating under crisis standards of care since the state activated those guidelines for them.

Alaska maintains a “high” alert level, and 25 of 28 census areas are also at a high alert level. The Haines Borough and Aleutians East borough are both currently at “moderate” while the Aleutians East region holds the only “low” alert level in the state.

Of the seven nonresident cases reported by the state health department, all purposes of the nonresident travel to Alaska remain under investigation. There were four nonresident cases reported in Anchorage, one in Homer and two in unknown locations

Alaska also continues to experience a high rate of positive COVID-19 tests. State testing data shows the current average positivity rate of the tests conducted in the last week is 8.8%. Health experts say the threshold of 5% indicates widespread community transmission of the virus.

The state’s vaccine monitoring dashboard shows more than 60% of eligible Alaska residents age 12 and older are fully vaccinated against COVID-19, and 64.9% have received at least one dose of vaccination.

The Juneau and Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta regions have the highest rate of fully vaccinated residents at 80.1% and 77.1%, respectively, according to the state health department. The regions with the lowest vaccine rates are the Kenai Peninsula, where 50.3% of eligible residents are fully vaccinated, and the Matanuska-Susitna Borough where 43.3% of residents that have been fully vaccinated.

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