Another Alaskan dies as the state announces 78 new COVID-19 cases

Alaska health officials on Saturday reported one new death and 78 new COVID-19 cases as the number of known infections in the state continues to rise.

The woman who died was in her 50s and had pre-existing conditions, said the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services. She is the 18th Alaskan to have died with COVID-19.

The latest report brings the total number of COVID-19 cases among Alaskans and nonresidents in Alaska to 2,159. Of those, 1,335 are still sick.

Of the new cases among residents, the majority, 33, are from the Municipality of Anchorage. And the city is warning that the rapid rise in cases is threatening local health care capacity.

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The other new cases include: Nine Alaskans from Fairbanks, eight from the Kenai Peninsula Borough, six from the Matanuska-Susitna Borough, two from the Valdez-Cordova Census Area, one from Utqiagvik, two from Juneau and one from Ketchikan.

Among residents, the majority of active cases in the state — 504 of them — are among residents from the Municipality of Anchorage. But there are also 196 Fairbanks North Star Borough residents and 136 Kenai Peninsula Borough residents with active infections.

(Resident cases are reported by where the Alaskans are from, not where they tested positive. However, nonresident cases are reported by where they are currently located.)

New nonresident cases have been identified in tourists in Anchorage, a group of seafood workers in Unalaska, plus people in the Denali Borough, the Fairbanks North Star Borough and Juneau.

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In total, among nonresidents who are still sick, 68 are in the Bristol Bay and Lake and Peninsula region and 63 are in Anchorage. There are also hot spots in the Valdez-Cordova Census area, with 32 active nonresident cases, and in Fairbanks where 23 people are currently sick.

In other data, hospitals are reporting that 26 people who are currently being treated have either tested positive for COVID-19 or are waiting on test results.

To date, more than 168,000 tests have been performed in the state, however there are reports that the testing lab in Anchorage is operating at half capacity due to a supply issue with one of its machines. It is expected to take longer to get results back in the coming days, though the lab should have that issue resolved by early next week.

Additionally, contact-tracing is strained statewide. Juneau’s Emergency Operations Center reports that the state health department is now doing limited contact tracing investigations for people who are low risk.

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