COVID-19 follow-up in Alaska: Record 604 new cases reported Saturday, no new deaths

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Alaska reported a record 604 new COVID-19 cases and no new deaths on Saturday, according to the Department of Health and Human Services’ COVID-19 dashboard.

Saturday’s tally marked the highest number of cases reported statewide in a single day, followed by 526 cases recorded on October 25 and 504 cases reported on Friday.

There were 95 people currently hospitalized with the virus in Alaska on Saturday, down slightly from Friday’s record 97 hospitalizations. According to state data, 10 other hospital patients were suspected of having COVID-19.

The state’s hospital capacity is worrying given the rapidly accelerating number of cases, health officials say. The virus is spreading widely among friends, families and co-workers at rallies, sporting events and at work, public health officials said.

A total of 84 Alaskan residents infected 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.

As of Saturday, every region of the state was in a high alert zone, meaning there were more than 10 cases on average per 100,000 people.

Of the 600 resident cases reported by the state on Saturday, 300 were in Anchorage, plus 19 in Eagle River, 12 in Chugiak and one in Girdwood; 42 in Wasilla; 28 in Palmer; 25 in Soldotna; 23 in Fairbanks; 16 in Shevak; 14 in Kenai; 13 in Bethel; 11 in Juneau; 10 in Ketchikan; six at Kodiak; six in Utqiagvik; five at the North Pole; four at Delta Junction; three in pounds sterling; three in Kotzebue; three in Sitka; two in Seward; two to Homer; two in Metlakatla; two at Big Lake; two to Willow; two in Hooper Bay; one in Nikiski; one in Valdez; one in Petersburg; one in Unalaska; and one in an unidentified part of the state.

Among communities of less than 1,000 who are not named to protect privacy, there have been 15 cases of residents in the Bethel census area; six in the Valdez-Cordova census area; four in the Dillingham census area; four in the Kusilvak census area; three in the Nome census area; two in the Ketchikan Gateway borough; two in the south of the Kenai Peninsula; one in the north of the Kenai Peninsula; one in the Matanuska-Susitna district; and one in the North Slope borough.

The state also reported four non-resident cases: three in Anchorage and one in an unidentified part of the state.

As of Saturday, there were 12,065 active cases of the virus among residents of Alaska and non-residents of the state. A total of 7,157 people were considered cured.

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 Saturday was 6.9% on a seven-day moving average. A positivity rate above 5% may indicate high community transmission and not enough testing, health officials said.

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