Alaska reports 9 coronavirus deaths and over 1,100 new cases in 2 days

a medical professional swabs a driver's nostril
Jose Urrutia gets a nostril swab on Wednesday, Aug. 11, 2021, afternoon at the Loussac Library, one of Anchorage’s free COVID-19 testing sites. The Municipality has seen a significant increase in the amount of individuals getting tested. (Jeff Chen/Alaska Public Media)

Alaska health officials on Wednesday announced 647 new coronavirus infections and four deaths from the virus.

That brings the totals reported over the past two days to nine deaths and 1,106 cases, continuing an upward trend driven by the virus’s highly contagious delta variant.

Meanwhile, more than three-quarters of the state’s adult Intensive Care Unit beds are in use, according to Department of Health and Social Services data.

Alaska Chief Medical Officer Dr. Anne Zink warned on Wednesday that hospital staff are burnt out and morale is waning.

“It’s heartbreaking right now working in the hospitals. It’s the most depressing place I have worked in my career,” Zink said during an online forum with other medical experts. “And now we’re seeing so many sick people with completely preventable (infections), or at least the majority are preventable. I mean, it is unvaccinated person after unvaccinated person, who’s struggling to breathe, saying, ‘I didn’t think this would be this bad.’”

RELATED: Head of Alaska’s nursing home association says vaccine requirement could cause workers to quit

The positive tests announced Wednesday are from results received Tuesday. Cases were reported all over the state, with the most in Anchorage.

The ages of those reported this week to have died ranged from 20s to 70s. A total of 404 Alaska residents have died from the virus.

The cases announced Wednesday are the most since December, when infections were decreasing from a peak in November.

Health officials continue to urge Alaskans to get vaccinated. Currently, about 54% of Alaskans age 12 and older are fully vaccinated, according to health department data.

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Casey Grove is host of Alaska News Nightly and a general assignment reporter at Alaska Public Media. cgrove [at] alaskapublic (dot) org | 907.550.8446 | About Casey

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