Alaska records nearly 2,800 new COVID cases over the weekend, 4 deaths

Cars in a line with a person in a blue gown talking to someone through the window
Cars waiting in line for a COVID-19 test at the Loussac Library on Oct. 5, 2021 (Lex Treinen/Alaska Public Media)

Alaska recorded 2,792 new COVID-19 cases over the past three days and four deaths.

By Monday, there were 184 people with COVID-19 in Alaska hospitals, according to the state Department of Health and Social Services. That’s 32 fewer COVID patients than a week ago.

Alaska Chief Medical Officer Dr. Anne Zink said on Thursday that she’s hopeful the worst of the latest COVID surge is over.

“You can see that there’s some variability when we look week to week. But, in general, it is not looking as steep up, which is great,” she said. “And we are cautiously optimistic at this time.”

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State health leaders say this week’s data will better reveal whether Alaska is in fact past the peak of the latest, massive surge — or whether infections and hospitalizations have at least leveled off.

Zink cautioned that even if they have, there is still a ton of COVID circulating in the state — specifically the highly contagious delta variant.

“Just because we’re on the way down doesn’t mean that it’s over. It doesn’t mean it can’t go back up, or that people can’t still get infected with COVID-19,” said Zink. “We still have a lot of COVID circulating around, and so still encourage people to take those precautions and also get vaccinated so we don’t have to go through these big surges and bumps again.”

Alaska continues to rank as the U.S. state with the highest rate of COVID infections, according to data compiled by the New York Times.

And there were just 18 adult ICU beds open by late this afternoon, none of them in Anchorage, according to state data.

Also, on average, almost 11% of COVID tests in the state have come back positive over the past week. Nearly every part of Alaska remains under “high alert.”

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On Monday, the state said the recent COVID-19 deaths include a man in his 70s from the Northwest Arctic Borough, plus three Anchorage residents: a woman in her 70s, a woman in her 60s and a man in his 50s. A total of 574 Alaskan deaths have been linked to the coronavirus since the pandemic started.

About 59% of Alaskans age 12 and up are fully vaccinated.

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