Alaska public health officials reported 512 new cases of COVID-19 on Sunday and no new deaths. The state has reached a record number of hospital patients with COVID-19 after a week of concern from officials over health care capacity.
Sunday’s case count marks the fourth time since the start of the pandemic in Alaska that the number of daily cases has exceeded 500. On Saturday, the highest daily number of new COVID-19 infections in Alaska with 604 reported cases.
On Sunday, there were 100 people with COVID-19 in Alaskan hospitals, surpassing the previous high of 97 patients on Friday. Seven patients with COVID-19 were on ventilators on Sunday and 19 more people in hospitals were suspected of having COVID-19, according to the COVID-19 dashboard from the Department of Health and Human Services.
The number of cases in Alaska has continued to rise in recent weeks, and officials recently warned that even as beds remain available, there were concerns over the increasingly strained health care staffing. .
A total of 84 Alaskans with the virus have died since the start of the pandemic, and Alaska’s overall per capita death rate remains among the lowest in the country.
Of the 510 resident cases reported by the state on Sunday, 271 were in Anchorage, one in Chugiak and 14 in Eagle River; two were in Anchor Point, three in Homer, 24 in Kenai, three in Seward, 19 in Soldotna and two in Sterling; six were in Kodiak, one in Cordoba and one in Valdez; 21 were at Fairbanks and six at the North Pole; three were at Delta Junction; two were in Big Lake, nine in Palmer, 32 in Wasilla and three in Willow; five were in Utqiagvik; two were in Kotzebue; three were in Juneau; 16 were in Ketchikan; one was in Craig and one in Metlakatla; one was in Sitka; 11 were at Bethel; two were at Dillingham; and seven were at Shevak. The state reported that two cases have been identified in unknown areas.
Among communities of less than 1,000 who are not named to protect privacy, there have been four cases in the South Peninsula Borough of Kenai; two in the Valdez-Cordova census area; one in the southeast Fairbanks census area; two in the Matanuska-Susitna district; two in the Nome census area; two in the North Slope borough; one in the Ketchikan Gateway borough; one in the Yakutat area plus Hoonah Angoon; 17 in the Bethel census area; one in Bristol Bay plus the boroughs of Lake and Peninsula; one in the Dillingham census area; and two in the Kusilvak census area.
Two non-resident cases in Anchorage were reported on Sunday, the state said.
Of the new cases, it is not stated how many patients showed symptoms of the virus when they tested positive. While people can be tested more than once, each case reported by the state’s health department represents only one person.
The state’s testing positivity on Sunday was 6.8% on a seven-day moving average. A positivity rate above 5% may indicate high community transmission and not enough testing, health officials said.
All areas of the state are now on alert for the continued spread of the community, the state said. The community spread in the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta region is the highest in the state. On Saturday, the Yukon-Kuskokwim Health Center reported that an employee at the long-term care center tested positive for COVID-19. The employee does not work directly with patients and facility-wide testing will be performed every three days until the risk of transmission has decreased, the health center wrote in a statement.