Anchorage and Mat-Su reach grim ICU bed capacity milestones

The Alaska Regional Hospital in Anchorage. (Joey Mendolia/Alaska Public Media)

Anchorage health officials announced worsening pandemic metrics on Friday, including that the city only has five adult ICU beds left. Of the 64 adults currently in ICU care, Anchorage Health Department reported 19 are COVID-19 patients. 

Nearby, the Mat-Su Borough is already at zero empty adult ICU beds.

COVID-19 patients typically spend much longer in ICU care than non-COVID patients, according to AHD. Should hospitals run out of ICU space, AHD director Heather Harris said they will increase capacity by reallocating some beds and staff for intensive care. But long-term, if case counts continue to stay high or rise further, AHD epidemiologist Janet Johnston says COVID-19 deaths will be frequent.

“This level of new cases translates into one or more new deaths per day as we move forward,” she said.

In the last week, the city reported 11 deaths. Already this month, Anchorage has recorded the same number of deaths as it did in the entire month of April. 

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