Alaska on Thursday reported another daily record for new coronavirus cases, and it also recorded seven new deaths and a nearly 5% jump in hospitalizations as the state contends with its worst COVID-19 surge so far.
The state’s daily tally of new COVID cases hit 1,330 — 1,285 involving Alaskans and the rest nonresidents who tested positive in the state.
COVID hospitalizations also rose to 209 from the 200 reported the previous day. And Alaska reported a new total of 473 deaths from the virus, up seven from the day before.
Alaska officials announced on Wednesday that they’d adopted crisis standards of care — a move primarily aimed at giving legal protections to overwhelmed hospitals and providers who are stretched too thin to offer patients a normal level of treatment.
The state has seen cases skyrocket over the past few weeks as its vaccination rate lags and the super-contagious delta variant continues spreading.
Chief Medical Officer Dr. Anne Zink said it’s unlikely the pressure on the state’s hospitals will subside any time soon. That’s because it takes time for people infected with COVID-19 earlier to end up needing intensive care.
“I think our stress on our health care system is not going to be the next two weeks,” she said. “I think it’s going to be the next couple of months. And I think during that time, there will be very stressful situations.”
Anchorage’s hospitals have seven of their 69 intensive care unit beds open right now, and all but 30 of their nearly 500 beds are full.
The state is still seeing the country’s highest rate of COVID-19, according to national trackers.