Alaska on Tuesday reported another seven deaths from COVID-19, and a near-record number of hospitalizations as the state continues to experience one of the sharpest surges of coronavirus in the country.
The state health department said all seven deaths were recent, and six involved men from Anchorage. Three of the men were in their 50s, two in their 60s and one in their 70s.
Also, a nonresident in her 60s was diagnosed with COVID-19 in Juneau and hospitalized in the city. She was then medevaced out for additional care and later died, according to a spokesperson for the City and Borough of Juneau.
Since the pandemic started, 451 Alaskans have died from COVID-19. The state has reported about a dozen recent COVID deaths over the past week, not including Tuesday.
As of Tuesday, 202 patients diagnosed with COVID-19 were hospitalized in Alaska, and 33 of them were on ventilators, according to state data.
Alaska still ranked second in the nation on Tuesday for the highest percent increase in COVID-19 hospitalizations over the prior two weeks, behind just North Dakota, according to The New York Times.
Alaska hospitals are feeling the strain.
On Tuesday, Providence Alaska Medical Center, Alaska’s largest hospital, started rationing care due to the surge. It’s a crisis point health care workers have warned about for weeks.
The state also reported nearly 700 new coronavirus cases on Tuesday.
The percent of COVID-19 tests coming back positive in Alaska remains high. Over the past week, 9.1% of tests came back positive. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention considers 5% to be too high.
Correction: This story initially said that the nonresident woman in her 60s died in Juneau, as reported by the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services. The City and Borough of Juneau later clarified that the woman was diagnosed with COVID-19 in Juneau and hospitalized in the city, but was then flown out for additional care and later died. For the reporting of out-of-state deaths, the state says it uses the community of diagnosis to determine where a death is counted.