Alaska reports 2 new COVID deaths as hospitalizations continue to break records

Providence Alaska Medical Center in Anchorage. (Jeff Chen/Alaska Public Media)

Alaska on Friday reported two new COVID-19 deaths as the number of patients hospitalized with the virus in the state hit a new record high.

The state health department said the two recent deaths were a woman in her 40s from Anchorage and a man in his 70s from the Dillingham area. A total of 444 Alaskans have died from COVID-19.

By Friday, a total of 208 people were fighting COVID-19 in Alaska hospitals, up from 206 on Thursday. Twenty-seven of the COVID-19 patients were on ventilators.

Overall, one in five patients in the state’s hospitals had the virus.

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Friday’s COVID-19 hospitalization count was the highest in Alaska since the pandemic began, following a string of record-breaking daily totals this week. Hospital officials continue to sound the alarm that their ICUs are at or near capacity, and rural health care organizations have reported trouble transferring their sickest patients to Anchorage.

Alaska on Friday ranked among the top five states in the U.S. for its increase in COVID-19 hospitalizations over the last two weeks, according to the New York Times.

Also on Friday, the state reported 702 new COVID-19 cases, 677 of them are Alaskans and the rest are nonresidents who tested positive in the state. That follows Thursday’s report of 846 new cases and 841 new cases on Wednesday. 

Over the past week, an average of 9% of COVID-19 tests came back positive, according to the state health department. Generally, 5% is considered “too high,” according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

As for vaccines, 56% of Alaskans age 12 and older are fully vaccinated against COVID-19, and 62% have gotten at least their first dose.

RELATED: Unvaccinated people are 11 times more likely to die of COVID-19, new research finds

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