Alaska reports 28 COVID-19 deaths, close to 400 cases Tuesday

Published: Nov. 9, 2021 at 4:50 PM AKST|Updated: Nov. 9, 2021 at 8:04 PM AKST
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - The state on Tuesday recorded another 28 deaths of Alaska residents related to COVID-19, most of them occurring in October, along with more than 300 additional COVID-19 infections while hospitalizations remain relatively steady.

The Alaska Department of Health and Social Services reported 388 additional COVID-19 cases on Tuesday, only two of which are among nonresidents. The number of new cases per week has been slightly declining since late September, with state data showing a 7% decrease in COVID-19 cases this week compared to the week of Oct. 26-Nov. 1.

At the same time, Alaska still maintains the highest rate of new cases per capita in the country. Data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows Alaska’s current rate of 546 COVID-19 cases per 100,000 people over the last week is more than three times the national case rate.

The state health department reported 28 additional COVID-19-related deaths on Tuesday. This follows Monday’s report of more than 50 additional deaths. According to the state health department, the deaths reported Tuesday occurred from August through October, but most of them were in October.

Deaths related to COVID-19 are not always reported to the state soon after they happen, because the routine death certificate review process can sometimes take several weeks to complete.

All 28 newly reported COVID-19 deaths were among Alaska residents, according the state health department, and they ranged in age from their 80s to their 50s. Of the resident deaths reported Tuesday, there were eight people who were residents of Wasilla, six Fairbanks residents, six Palmer residents, two Anchorage residents, and one each who were residents of Kotzebue, Soldotna, Homer, Kodiak, Juneau and the Dillingham Census Area.

The state’s hospital data dashboard shows that 142 people are hospitalized with COVID-19 across the state. Of those, 20 people are sick enough that they are on a ventilator. Alaska’s COVID-19 hospitalization numbers have been slowly dropping after hitting a record high of 243 in late October.

On Tuesday, Foundation Health Partners, which owns and operates Fairbanks Memorial Hospital, announced that the hospital had deactivated crisis standards of care on Nov. 3, and returned to “contingency care.” The hospital had been operating under crisis care standards since October “due to a critical shortage of resources that included staffing shortages, bed capacity, inability to transfer patients, and monoclonal antibody treatments.”

Alaska’s average rate of positive COVID-19 tests also continues to drop from a record high in mid-October. State testing data shows Alaska’s average positivity rate over the last week is 7.69%. Health experts say the threshold of 5% positivity indicates widespread transmission of the virus within a community.

According to the state’s vaccine monitoring dashboard, 54% of all eligible Alaskans age 5 and older are now fully vaccinated against COVID-19, while 59% have gotten at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.

Of the 388 COVID-19 cases reported on Tuesday, 386 of them were identified among Alaska residents of the following communities:

  • Anchorage: 108
  • Greater Wasilla area: 81
  • Fairbanks: 31
  • Greater Palmer area: 25
  • Nome: 23
  • Bethel Census Area: 22
  • Eagle River: 12
  • North Pole: 9
  • Houston/Big Lake: 7
  • Juneau: 7
  • Kotzebue: 7
  • Chugiak: 6
  • Valdez: 5
  • Homer: 4
  • Kusilvak Census Area: 4
  • Soldotna: 4
  • Ketchikan: 3
  • Wrangell: 3
  • Yukon-Koyukuk Census Area: 3
  • Bethel: 2
  • Kenai: 2
  • Matanuska-Susitna Borough: 2
  • Nome Census Area: 2
  • Northwest Arctic Borough: 2
  • Chevak: 1
  • Denali Borough: 1
  • Girdwood: 1
  • Kenai Peninsula Borough North: 1
  • Kenai Peninsula Borough South: 1
  • Nikiski: 1
  • North Slope Borough: 1
  • Sitka: 1
  • Southeast Fairbanks Census Area: 1
  • Sterling: 1
  • Sutton-Alpine: 1
  • Willow: 1

The state also reported two nonresident COVID-19 cases, one in Anchorage and one in Fairbanks.

Editor’s note: This article has been updated with additional information.

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