Though case count continues to rise, state says more than 30 Alaskans have recovered from coronavirus

Published: Apr. 8, 2020 at 4:51 PM AKDT
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You can stream the full replay of this press conference on the Channel 2 Facebook page. Updates will also be shared on the Channel 2 Newshour and Late Edition.

With 13 new coronavirus cases and another fatality of an Alaskan being reported Wednesday, state officials said they are still working to do everything they can to build up the healthcare system and slow the spread of coronavirus in the state.

Though Alaska's coronavirus case count continues to rise, as expected, the state has also reported full recoveries of dozens of people. As for the recent fatality, the death was of an Anchorage woman in her forties, officials said.

New cases include but are not limited to one in the Mat-Su Borough, at least six in the Fairbanks North Star Borough, and at least three in Anchorage. There are cases in children under the age of ten included in the total case number, which currently sits at 226.

The state also said a total of 7,068 tests have been administered to date. At least 32 people have fully recovered from the virus, according to the DHSS count on Wednesday.

Regarding the buildup of healthcare infrastructure, there remains a global shortage of many personal protective equipment items, but DHSS has requested 3 million N-95 masks and more testing for Alaska.

"Testing is a huge, huge focus for us," Zink said, "but we do have worldwide limitations. That's why one of the numbers that I follow is that percent positive. Are we keeping ahead of the testing compared to the cases?

"And the more we can slow down the cases and keep ahead of testing, I would say that's the one number I am internally thinking about the most," she said. "How much capacity am I building up compared to the cases count?"

The state has requested much more PPE than it has received, Zink said, adding that Alaska needs much more than was even on the original list.

Gov. Mike Dunleavy also addressed one of the mandates issued in March, specifically regarding elective surgeries, which was then extended on Tuesday to June 15 but mentioned in particular the halting of services such as surgical abortions.

"And there was a question that came up," Dunleavy said. "'Are we being political?' The answer is, 'No, we're not being political.

"We're trying to assess all of the PPE that we have," he said, "and we're asking all of our professionals who have clinics if they can hold off on the elective surgeries, elective work, so we can hang on to this PPE."

Economy-wise, Dunleavy said there is still no exact date for certain actions, for example when unemployment benefits will be distributed to Alaskans.

"We're moving on this as fast as we can," he said. "We know the longer we wait, there's more damage to the economy."

Wednesday's update comes after Alaska saw

the day before, along with alterations to those several statewide mandates.

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