COVID hospitalizations in Alaska are at an all-time high

A sign points to the entrance of the ER at Alaska Regional Hospital on Aug. 24, 2021. (Jeff Chen/Alaska Public Media)

Hospitalizations for COVID-19 are at an all-time high in Alaska.

Nearly a dozen more people were admitted to the state’s overwhelmed hospitals Tuesday, where 1 in 5 patients are sick with the virus. As of Wednesday afternoon, nearly 200 people were in the hospital in Alaska with COVID-19. 

“Our hospitals are stressed,” said Gene Wiseman with the state’s COVID-19 response team. “There’s no argument about that, right? But we’re trying to level the playing field as best we can.”

To do that, the state’s health department began daily capacity check-ins with all of the state’s hospitals this Tuesday. Hospitals report on their capacity and can send patients to the places in the state with open beds. The health department also requested nearly 500 healthcare workers from the federal government.

According to the state’s data, almost all of Southcentral and Interior intensive care units are full or near capacity. Doctors in the state have repeatedly warned that the system is at its limit. Hospitalizations have roughly doubled since state hospital officials sounded the alarm about a month ago.

The state also reported more than 840 new cases of COVID-19 for Tuesday — among the highest single-day counts since the pandemic began. The state reported that another five Alaskans with the virus have died, and also a nonresident died from the virus in the state. 

Just over 60% of Alaskans 12 and older have had their first dose of the vaccine, which is below the national average.

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