Alaska reports 8 COVID-19 deaths as cases continue to surge

Red billowy objexxt with blue rods latching onto them
A scanning electron micrograph of a cell (blue) heavily infected with particles of SARS-CoV-2 (National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases)

Eight more Alaskans have died of COVID-19, the state health department reported on Tuesday.

It’s the most COVID-19 deaths reported by the state in a single day. The report comes as cases continue to surge across Alaska.

According to the state Department of Health and Social Services, five of the deaths were recent: A Wasilla woman in her 90s, an Anchorage man in his 70s, an Anchorage man in his 80s, an Anchorage woman in her 60s and an Anchorage man in his 60s.

The other three were identified after reviews of death certificates. The deaths involved a Kenai man in his 60s, an Anchorage woman in her 40s and a Wasilla woman in her 90s.

A total of 92 Alaskans have died of COVID-19 since March.

On Tuesday, the state also reported 524 new coronavirus cases among residents, and seven new cases among nonresidents who tested positive while in Alaska. 

(State officials, however, say the true number of positive tests is significantly higher than what’s being reported each day because employees can’t keep up with data entry and the work of validating each case. Read more about that here.)

The newly-diagnosed Alaskans in Tuesday’s report include 229 people from Anchorage, 52 people from the broader Bethel Census Area (plus 15 from Bethel itself), 40 people from Wasilla and 31 people from Fairbanks. The rest of the cases involve residents from communitites across Alaska, from Utqiaġvik to Kotzebue to Hooper Bay to Ketchikan.

All regions of the state also continue to be in a high-alert level, meaning there’s “widespread community transmission with many undetected case and frequent discrete outbreaks.”

As of Tuesday, there were 103 people with COVID-19 hospitalized in Alaska, 10 of them on ventilators. There was also another 17 people hospitalized who were suspected to have the virus.