Alaska recorded 66 more COVID-19-related deaths on Tuesday, state data showed, most of which occurred this month and last.
The additional 65 deaths of Alaskan residents and one non-resident death have increased the total number of COVID-19 deaths in the state by more than 10%. A total of 659 Alaskan residents and 24 non-residents have now died from the virus since January 2020.
About 32% of the 659 deaths of Alaskan residents linked to COVID-19 have occurred since early August – long after vaccines became widely available – in a sharp increase caused by the highly contagious delta variant.
Fifty-six of the newly reported deaths were identified through the review of death certificates. Government agencies rely on death certificates to report deaths from COVID-19. If a doctor judges that a COVID-19 infection contributed to a person’s death, it is included on the death certificate and ultimately counted in the state’s official toll, according to health officials.
Of the deaths reported on Tuesday, 10 occurred in October, 44 in September and nine in August, as well as one in July, May and April. September 2021 is now the deadliest month in the pandemic to date.
The newly reported resident deaths involved 35 men and 30 women. Nineteen were Alaskans aged 80 or over, eight were in their 70s, 14 were in their sixties, 11 were in their fifties, six were in their forties, six were in their thirties and one in their twenties. They lived statewide: 19 were from Anchorage, 14 from Wasilla, six from Fairbanks, four from Palmer, three from Big Lake, three from Kenai, two from Juneau, two from Ketchikan, two from the northern borough. from the Kenai Peninsula and one each. North Pole, Homer, Seward, Hooper Bay, Cordova, Kotzebue, Southeast Fairbanks Enumeration Area, Kusilvak Enumeration Area, Bethel Enumeration Area and Prince of Wales-Hyder Enumeration Area.
The deceased non-resident was a woman in her sixties diagnosed with COVID-19 in Valdez.
Over the long weekend, Alaska also reported 2,842 more cases of the virus. The state reported 724 cases on Saturday; 1,022 cases Sunday; 580 on Monday; and 516 Tuesday. The Alaska Department of Health and Human Services did not update its COVID-19 data on Monday due to the Alaska Day holiday.
About 11% of COVID-19 tests performed as of Tuesday had tested positive, based on a seven-day moving average.
After weeks of recording the highest case rate among U.S. states, Alaska had the fourth seven-day COVID-19 case rate per 100,000 in the country on Tuesday, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Montana, Wyoming, and Idaho all had higher rates than Alaska, though all four were well above the national average.
Hospitalizations increased to 213 patients hospitalized with the virus and 11 more with suspected cases by Tuesday, according to state data.
Twenty healthcare facilities in Alaska have activated crisis care standards, though not all of them operate in crisis mode and all decisions to prioritize treatment are fluid and made on a daily basis.