Alaska reports over 5,000 COVID cases over 3 days, 21 deaths and dwindling ICU beds in Anchorage

As of Monday, there were just 6 adult ICU beds left open in Alaska’s largest city
The state of Alaska continues to report large numbers of additional COVID-19 cases as hospitalizations also continue to climb.
Published: Jan. 24, 2022 at 2:31 PM AKST|Updated: Jan. 24, 2022 at 4:29 PM AKST
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - The state of Alaska continues to report large numbers of additional COVID-19 cases as hospitalizations also continue to climb. The state health department reported an additional 21 COVID-19-related deaths on Monday as well.

The Alaska Department of Health and Social Services reported 5,759 COVID-19 cases over the last three days, from Friday through Sunday. Of those, 105 cases were among nonresidents. The state reported 3,083 Alaska resident cases for Friday, 1,490 cases for Saturday and 1,081 for Sunday.

According to state case data, the number of new COVID-19 cases in Alaska has remained steady in recent days, rising only 1% over the last week compared to the week before. At the same time, COVID-19 hospitalizations continue to climb and the state is now reporting more limited space in Anchorage ICUs.

As of Monday, there are 139 people being hospitalized with COVID-19, according to the hospital data dashboard. That’s 12.5% of all people currently being hospitalized in the state. According to the dashboard, there are just six adult ICU beds left open in Anchorage, and 30 still available statewide.

The state health department also reported an additional 21 COVID-19-related deaths of Alaska residents on Monday, bringing the total since the pandemic began here to 1,039. There have also been 33 COVID-19-related deaths of nonresidents in Alaska.

According to the state, eight of the Alaska residents who died were from Anchorage — a woman in her 80s or older, a woman and two men in their 70s, a man in his 60s and a man and two women in their 50s; three were from the Kenai Peninsula — a woman in her 80s or older, a man in his 60s and a woman in her 60s; three were from Ketchikan — a woman and man in their 60s and a man in his 50s; and two were from Wasilla — a woman who was 80 or older and a woman in her 60s. The other Alaska residents who died were a Copper River Census Area man in his 60s, a Fairbanks man in his 60s, a Palmer man in his 60s, a Soldotna man in his 40s and a man in his 70s from the Northwest Arctic Borough.

Hospitalizations and deaths are two of the most lagging indicators for the spread of COVID-19 in a community, health experts have said. Though the number of current COVID-19 hospitalizations in Alaska is not yet close to the record high of close to 250 during the delta variant, surge, the situation is worsened by the large number of health care staff now having to call out due to getting sick with the omicron variant or being exposed to the virus.

Though the state has officially recorded 191 confirmed cases of the omicron variant, the state epidemiologist has said the true number is likely higher due to the amount of time it takes to sequence COVID-19 case samples.

Alaska now ranks fifth in the nation for its rate of new COVID-19 cases per capita, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. CDC data shows Alaska’s case rate over the last seven days is about 2,225 cases per 100,000 people. Wisconsin, Rhode Island, Utah and Hawaii take up the first four spots on the list, respectively.

More Alaskans are now using at-home COVID-19 tests, as both the state of Alaska and the federal government have worked to make them more widely available. The at-home tests haven’t come without concerns — worries about tests freezing while being shipped to Alaska and expiration dates are chief among them.

On Monday, the Anchorage Health Department announced that the FDA has extended the expiration date for some at-home tests. This pertains to the 25,000 test kits distributed by the department in recent weeks. Test kits handed out by the city that were set to expire at the end of January have been extended to the end of April.

According to the state’s vaccine monitoring dashboard, a little over 61% of eligible Alaskans plus military members are now fully vaccinated, while 68.8% have gotten at least an initial vaccine dose. Additionally, nearly 25% have gotten a booster dose.

Of the 5,759 COVID-19 cases reported by the state over the last three days, 5,654 of them were identified among Alaska residents of the following communities:

  • Anchorage: 2,107
  • Fairbanks: 767
  • Greater Wasilla area: 374
  • North Pole: 243
  • Juneau: 231
  • Eagle River: 203
  • Ketchikan: 174
  • Greater Palmer area: 172
  • Northwest Arctic Borough: 156
  • Kodiak: 136
  • Nome Census Area: 125
  • Homer: 84
  • Soldotna: 65
  • Chugiak: 64
  • Nome: 62
  • Bethel Census Area: 57
  • Kotzebue: 51
  • Kenai: 49
  • Kusilvak Census Area: 40
  • Bethel: 34
  • Yukon-Koyukuk Census Area: 30
  • Prince of Wales-Hyder Census Area: 29
  • Houston/Big Lake: 26
  • Valdez: 23
  • Sitka: 22
  • Delta Junction: 21
  • Dutch Harbor: 21
  • Metlakatla: 20
  • Tok: 18
  • Craig: 17
  • Utqiaġvik: 16
  • Wrangell: 16
  • Aleutians East Borough: 15
  • Copper River Census Area: 15
  • Bristol Bay plus Lake and Peninsula : 14
  • Kenai Peninsula Borough North: 12
  • North Slope Borough: 11
  • Anchor Point: 10
  • Willow: 10
  • Aleutians West Census Area: 9
  • Dillingham: 9
  • Hooper Bay: 9
  • Southeast Fairbanks Census Area: 9
  • Sterling: 8
  • Cordova: 7
  • Denali Borough: 7
  • Matanuska-Susitna Borough: 7
  • Nikiski: 7
  • Eter: 6
  • Healy: 6
  • Seward: 5
  • Skagway: 4
  • Chevak: 3
  • Girdwood: 3
  • Kodiak Island Borough: 3
  • Fairbanks North Star Borough: 2
  • Haines: 2
  • Kenai Peninsula Borough South: 2
  • Sutton-Alpine: 2
  • Chugach Census Area: 1
  • Fritz Creek: 1
  • Hoonah-Angoon and Yakutat combined: 1
  • Petersburg: 1

Of the 105 additional nonresident COVID-19 cases reported over the last three days, 31 are in Anchorage and 27 ae in Fairbanks.

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

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