Alaska reports 408 COVID-19 cases, 57 deaths on Friday, most from death certificate review

Published: Dec. 17, 2021 at 6:13 PM AKST
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - The state reported 57 COVID-19-related deaths of Alaska residents and 408 new COVID-19 cases on Friday. All but one of the 57 deaths were identified through the death certificate review process, according to an email from the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services.

“One death was recent, while the rest were identified through death certificate review from August to November,” the state health department wrote. “Please know that our data team and Health Analytics and Vital Records Section (HAVRS) are diligently examining death certificate reviews to identify COVID-related deaths as we come back up to speed following the cyberattack.”

The process to review death certificates is routine, state health experts have said, but can take up to several weeks.

The state reported 408 new cases in total on Friday from other the last two days. Of those 408 cases, 252 resident cases were reported Thursday and 151 on Friday. Five of those 408 cases were among nonresidents. Cases are reported to the public one day after they are reported to the state, and the state health department now only reports new cases on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.

Of the 57 COVID-19-related deaths the state reported Friday, 56 were Alaska residents and one was a nonresident. These bring the total number of Alaska residents whose deaths have been related to COVID-19 to 915. The state has also reported a total of 31 nonresidents whose deaths have been COVID-19 related.

Of the 56 Alaska resident deaths, 17 were from Anchorage, 11 were from Wasilla, four were from Soldotna, four were from Palmer, three were from Fairbanks, three were from Kenai, two were from the southern Kenai Peninsula Borough, two were from North Pole, and there was one each from the Southeast Fairbanks Census Area, Valdez, the Bethel Census Area, the North Slope Borough, the Copper River Census Area, the Dillingham Census Area, Homer, Sitka, Juneau, and the Nome Census Area.

Once the state with the highest rate of new COVID-19 cases in the nation during the delta variant surge, Alaska now ranks 33rd in the nation for its rate of new cases per capita. While the rate for new COVID-19 cases per 100,000 residents over the last week across the country is 257.9, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention lists Alaska’s case rate at 169.1.

The state reported an 18% decrease in cases over the last week compared to the week of Dec. 10-Dec. 16.

There are 62 people currently being hospitalized with COVID-19 across the state, according to a health department spokesperson on Friday. There are 10 people who require ventilators and 6.1% of the entire population of people hospitalized in Alaska are hospitalized with COVID-19. Those numbers don’t include people who are recovering from COVID-19 but still require hospital care.

The state health department now reports that 60% of Alaska residents age 5 and older are fully vaccinated, while 67.1% have received at least one vaccine dose. The state also reports that 19.7% of residents 5 and older have received booster doses. Alaska’s rolling average positivity rate for COVID-19 tests is 3.25%, dropping from the 3.61% figure that the state reported on Wednesday.

Alaska maintains a high case rate as a state overall. Of the 26 boroughs and census areas around Alaska, 15 remain at a high alert level while four are classified as substantial, five are at moderate and both the Denali Borough and the Aleutians East Borough are at a low alert level with just one reported COVID-19 case each over the last two weeks.

Of the 408 COVID-19 cases reported by the state on Friday, 403 of them were identified among residents of the following communities.

  • Anchorage: 127
  • Greater Wasilla area: 47
  • Ketchikan: 27
  • Fairbanks: 24
  • Juneau: 15
  • Nome Census Area: 13
  • Greater Palmer area: 12
  • North Pole: 12
  • Sitka: 12
  • Soldotna: 10
  • Hooper Bay: 9
  • Kusilvak Census Area: 9
  • Yukon-Koyukuk Census Area: 9
  • Northwest Arctic Borough: 8
  • Eagle River: 8
  • Homer: 7
  • Bethel: 6
  • Kodiak: 6
  • Petersburg: 5
  • Kenai: 4
  • Kenai Peninsula Borough North: 4
  • Bethel Census Area: 3
  • Copper River Census Area: 3
  • Houston/Big Lake area: 3
  • Chugiak: 2
  • Fairbanks North Star Borough: 2
  • Haines: 2
  • Nome: 2
  • Utqiagvik: 2
  • Valdez: 2
  • Bristol Bay plus Lake and Peninsula: 1
  • Cordova: 1
  • Dillingham Census Area: 1
  • Skagway: 1
  • Yakutat plus Hoonah-Angoon: 1
  • Dillingham: 1
  • Petersburg Borough: 1
  • Prince Of Wales-Hyder Census Area: 1.

Of the five nonresident COVID-19 cases reported by the state on Friday, two were from Anchorage, two were from Ketchikan, and one was from Bethel.

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