COVID-19 tracking in Alaska: 3 deaths and 359 new cases reported Wednesday

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All three deaths were by residents of Anchorage, state data shows.

A total of 196 Alaskans and one non-resident with COVID-19 have died since the pandemic began here in March. Alaska’s total mortality per Population is among the lowest in the country, but officials say the state’s vast geography and vulnerable health system make it difficult to compare with other states.

Nearly 60% of those who have died with the coronavirus in Alaska have been residents of Anchorage.

After registering extremely high numbers of cases through November and the early part of December, infections and hospitalizations in recent days seem to be leveling out across the country, government officials have said.

However, the number of infections reported daily is still higher than reports through the spring, summer and early fall, and hospital capacity and staffing problems remain a problem, officials say.

They attribute part of the drop in cases to Anchorage’s “order,” which is in place throughout the month, and continue to urge Alaskans to avoid gatherings with people outside their household through the holidays.

On Wednesday, there were 106 people with COVID-19 in hospitals in Alaska, including 15 who were in ventilators, and another five people in the hospital with suspected cases. Across the country, there were 56 beds in the intensive care unit available from Wednesday.

Wednesday morning, the state’s vaccine page showed that 8,918 people in the state had been vaccinated so far. This tracker shows the number of vaccines administered shortly after real time.

Health officials continue to recommend basic disease prevention methods, including wearing a mask, social distance and hand washing.

Of the 355 cases reported in Alaska residents on Wednesday, 118 were in Anchorage plus one in Chugiak, 33 in Eagle River and two in Girdwood; to i Homer; to i Kenai; and in Seward; seven in Soldotna; one in Sterling; 20 and Kodiak; one in Cordova; one in Valdez; 33 in Fairbanks plus nine in the North Pole; to i Delta Junction; eight in Tok; one in Big Lake; 40 in Palmer; 25 in Wasilla; seven in Utqiagvik; and in Juneau; one in Ketchikan; one in Craig; fire in Sitka; three in Unalaska; and 14 in Bethel.

Among communities of less than 1,000 people who were not named for privacy, there were three in the northern Kenai Peninsula of Borough; one in the Valdez-Cordova census area; two in the southeastern Fairbank census area; one in the northern slope town; two in the northwestern Arctic district; one in Aleutians West Census Area; fire in the Bethel Census Area; two in the Dillingham Census Area; and one in the Kusilvak Census Area.

There were also four cases among non-Alaskan residents, including two in Juneau, one in Unalaska and one in an unidentified region of the state.

While people may be tested more than once, each case reported by the state health department represents only one person.

It is not clear how many of the people who tested positive for the virus showed symptoms. The Centers for Disease Control estimates that about one-third of people with COVID-19 are asymptomatic.

The positive test rate for the entire state from Wednesday was 4.91% above a 7-day average. Health experts say anything above 5% could indicate inadequate testing and potentially widespread community transmission. The state reached a peak of over 9% test positivity in mid-November.