Alaska reports 53 COVID-19 deaths

Cars in a line with a person in a blue gown talking to someone through the window
Alaska’s COVID-19 case rates have been declining for the last month, but still are the highest of any state in the country. (Lex Treinen/Alaska Public Media)

COVID-19 rates appear to be declining across most of Alaska, but the devastation of the delta-variant surge this fall is still being tallied. 

The state health department on Monday reported 53 more deaths from the disease, bringing the total number of COVID-19 deaths in the state to 794. Of those deaths, 764 were Alaska residents.  

Most of the newly-reported deaths happened in September, which was already Alaska’s deadliest month of the pandemic. A total of 162 Alaskans died from COVID-19 during September. That’s more than a fifth of the total number of Alaskans who have died from the virus since the start of the pandemic. 

The deaths occurred in regions throughout Alaska. Most of the people who died were older than 60, but there was also a woman from Anchorage in her 20s who died, and several people in their 30s, according to a release from the state health department.

COVID deaths are recorded by patients’ doctors in death certificates, but it sometimes takes weeks or months for those certificates to make it into the state’s reports.

The number of COVID-19 cases in Alaska has  trended down over the last several weeks, though the state’s case rate still leads the nation, according to The New York Times. Other trends, like hospitalizations and the number of tests returning positive, have also declined over the past several weeks. 

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Lex Treinen covers culture, homelessness, politics and corrections for Alaska Public Media. Reach him at ltreinen@alaskapublic.org.