Open ICU beds in Anchorage dwindle to four as state reports record deaths

A computer image showinng yellowish blobs on the outside and red balls closer to the middle
This scanning electron image shows a cell (tan) heavily infected with particles of the virus that causes COVID-19 (orange), isolated from a patient sample. (National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases)

Alaska set a record for the number of COVID-19-related deaths reported in a single day when health officials announced over the weekend 18 Alaskans had died. Five of the deaths were recent: The rest occurred over the last months, but weren’t reported until Saturday. 

No new deaths were reported on Sunday, but 122 people were hospitalized with the virus and nine with suspected cases. The state reported 36 ICU beds still open, but only four in Anchorage. Just under 15 percent of people hospitalized in Alaska are COVID-19 patients.

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The state has reported an average of more than two COVID-related deaths per day over the last seven days. Anchorage Health Department Epidemiologist Dr. Janet Johnston said at a Friday press conference the recent rise in deaths was anticipated, given the elevated case counts over the past four to six weeks.

The state continues to report 500 or more new COVID-19 cases per day. Alert levels in every region of the state remain high.