Seventeen COVID-19 deaths reported after death certificate review

A mostly empty hospital hallway
A nearly empty critical care unit at Bartlett Hospital on April 7, 2020, in Juneau, Alaska. (Rashah McChesney/KTOO)

The Alaska Department of Health and Social Services identified 17 previously unreported COVID-19 deaths on Tuesday through a death certificate review process. None of the deaths, primarily older Alaska residents, were recent. 

Death certificate reviews can require several weeks between when a death occurs and when it’s reported by the state. That’s to allow the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to confirm each individual’s cause of death before reporting. While the state says death certificate reviews provide the most accurate death counts, it can result in a relatively large number of deaths being reported on one day.

Ten of the Alaskans who died were from Anchorage, and two were from the Bethel Census Area. One each came from Palmer, Wasilla, Soldotna and Ketchikan. One died out of state. 

So far, Alaska has seen 277 deaths due to COVID-19, primarily residents. 

DHSS also reported 140 new cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday. Among them were 29 non-residents, mostly seafood workers in the Aleutians East Borough where a COVID-19 outbreak has shut down several processing plants.