Alaska on Wednesday reported 150 new coronavirus infections, according to the Department of Health and Social Services.
No new deaths related to COVID-19 were reported Wednesday. In total, 301 Alaskans and four nonresidents with COVID-19 have died since the pandemic reached the state in March. Alaska’s death rate per capita is still among the lowest in the country, but the state’s size and vulnerable health care system complicate national comparisons.
Although case counts and hospitalizations in Alaska remain far below what they were during the peak in November and December, the overall decline in cases has plateaued in recent weeks, and many regions of the state are still in the highest alert category based on their current per capita rate of infection.
Public health officials continue to encourage Alaskans to keep up with personal virus mitigation efforts like hand-washing, mask-wearing, social distancing and getting tested if symptomatic or exposed to someone with COVID-19.
By Wednesday, there were 33 people with COVID-19 in hospitals throughout the state, far below a peak in late 2020. Another two patients had test results pending.
Alaska this week became the first state to open up vaccine eligibility to anyone 16 and older who lives or works in the state. You can visit covidvax.alaska.gov or call 907-646-3322 to sign up for a vaccine appointment. The phone line is staffed 9 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. on weekdays and 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on weekends.
By Wednesday, 174,028 people — about a quarter of Alaska’s population — had received at least their first vaccine shot, according to the state’s vaccine monitoring dashboard. That’s above the national average of 18%. At least 122,823 people had received both doses of the vaccine.
Of the 144 cases identified among Alaska residents Wednesday, there were 46 in Anchorage, plus three in Chugiak, six in Eagle River and one in Girdwood; one in Cordova; one in Nikiski; one in Soldotna; 11 in Fairbanks; three in North Pole; five in Delta Junction; one in Tok; 13 in Palmer; one in Sutton-Alpine; 33 in Wasilla; three in Juneau; and three in Unalaska.
Among smaller communities not named to protect individuals’ privacy, there was one in the Denali Borough; three in the the Fairbanks North Star Borough; one in the Yukon-Koyukuk Census Area; one in the Nome Census Area; five in the Bethel Census Area; and one in the Kusilvak Census Area.
There were also six new nonresident cases: three in Anchorage, one in Homer, and two in Unalaska.
While people might get tested more than once, each case reported by the state health department represents only one person.
The state’s data doesn’t specify whether people testing positive for COVID-19 have symptoms. More than half of the nation’s infections are transmitted from asymptomatic people, according to CDC estimates.
— Annie Berman
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