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Alaska reports nearly 5,900 COVID cases over 2 days; hospitalizations continue to climb

The state of Alaska reported close to 5,900 additional COVID-19 cases on Friday for the past two days.
Published: Jan. 28, 2022 at 3:11 PM AKST|Updated: Jan. 28, 2022 at 8:16 PM AKST
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - The state of Alaska reported close to 5,900 additional COVID-19 cases on Friday for the past two days, as the number of people hospitalized with the virus in Alaska also continues to climb.

The Alaska Department of Health and Social Services reported 5,699 Alaska resident cases on Friday — 2,796 on Wednesday and 2,903 on Thursday, as well as 198 nonresident cases from the last two days.

While state case data shows just a 3% rise in new cases over the last week compared to the week before, Alaska is now the state with the highest rate of new cases per capita. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Alaska’s rate of new COVID-19 cases over the last seven days is 2,360 per 100,000 people.

Only the U.S. territories of Guam and Palau have a higher average case rate over the last week.

COVID-19 hospitalizations in Alaska also continue to rise, up to 156 compared to 136 on Wednesday, according to the state health department. The state’s hospital data dashboard showed just nine adult ICU beds left open in Anchorage as of Friday.

Jared Kosin, president and CEO of the Alaska State Hospital and Nursing Home Association, said hospitalizations are still consistently going up.

But unlike during the delta variant surge in the fall, the main variable this time around is not the number of COVID-19 patients coming into state hospitals. With the omicron variant, the main variable continues to be the high volumes of health care staff calling out sick or because they were exposed to COVID-19, Kosin said.

“The report we keep having in the field is, in terms of capacity it is all about staff, and staff calling out sick,” he said.

Staffing is tight at hospitals all over the state, Kosin said, but it is affecting different facilities in different ways. Some are weathering the strain without too much of an impact, while others have temporarily halted elective procedures or updated visitation policies in response.

Kosin said, based on trends from the rest of the U.S., the hope is that Alaska will hit its peak with the omicron variant soon. All things considered, health care facilities in the state are managing through the situation, he said.

Alaska also reported four additional COVID-19 deaths on Friday, all of them among Alaska residents. This brings the total number of Alaska resident deaths related to the virus since the pandemic began to 1,052. There have also been 33 nonresidents who have died with COVID-19 in the state.

According to the state health department, the four people who died were all from Anchorage — a woman in her 70s, a man in his 70s, a man in his 60s and a man in his 40s.

According to the state’s vaccine monitoring dashboard, 61.6% of all eligible Alaska residents plus veterans and military members are now fully vaccinated against COVID-19, while 69% have gotten at least an initial vaccine dose. Vaccine data shows 25.3% have gotten a booster shot.

Of the 5,897 COVID-19 cases reported over the last two day, 5,699 of them have been identified among Alaska residents of the following communities:

  • Anchorage: 1,892
  • Fairbanks: 547
  • Greater Wasilla area: 524
  • Eagle River: 243
  • Greater Palmer area: 221
  • North Pole: 190
  • Juneau: 163
  • Ketchikan: 155
  • Nome Census Area: 154
  • Aleutians East Borough: 124
  • Kodiak: 118
  • Soldotna: 114
  • Kenai: 102
  • Sitka: 92
  • Bethel: 87
  • Northwest Arctic Borough: 86
  • Seward: 78
  • Bethel Census Area: 55
  • Kusilvak Census Area: 48
  • Nome: 45
  • Homer: 44
  • Chugiak: 43
  • Bristol Bay plus Lake and Peninsula: 42
  • Dillingham: 34
  • Yukon-Koyukuk Census Area: 32
  • Delta Junction: 29
  • Craig: 28
  • Utqiaġvik: 28
  • Haines: 26
  • Metlakatla: 23
  • North Slope Borough: 23
  • Copper River Census Area: 22
  • Valdez: 20
  • Wrangell: 20
  • Houston/Big Lake: 18
  • Hooper Bay: 15
  • Petersburg: 15
  • Southeast Fairbanks Census Area: 15
  • Sterling: 15
  • Anchor Point: 13
  • Kenai Peninsula Borough North: 13
  • Kotzebue: 13
  • Willow: 13
  • Dutch Harbor: 12
  • Sutton-Alpine: 11
  • Nikiski: 10
  • Unalaska: 10
  • Chevak: 9
  • Hoonah-Angoon plus Yakutat: 9
  • Prince of Wales-Hyder Census Area: 9
  • Fairbanks North Star Borough: 8
  • Aleutians West Census Area: 6
  • Tok: 6
  • Girdwood: 5
  • Cordova: 4
  • Ester: 4
  • Healy: 4
  • Matanuska-Susitna Borough: 3
  • Dillingham Census Area: 2
  • Kenai Peninsula Borough South: 2
  • Kodiak Island Borough: 2
  • Denali Borough: 1

Of the 198 additional nonresident cases reported by the state over the last two days, 55 of them are in the Aleutians East Borough. Of those 40 are seafood industry workers. There are also 28 new nonresident cases in Anchorage and 24 in Fairbanks.

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

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