September was Alaska’s deadliest month of the COVID pandemic, state data shows

a row of cars lined up behind a sign that reads "covid-19 drive-thru testing"
Cars line up for drive-through Covid-19 testing on the Alaska Native Medical Campus on Aug. 24, 2021. (Jeff Chen/Alaska Public Media)

September was the deadliest month of the COVID-19 pandemic in Alaska so far, according to new data from the state health department. 

The state on Tuesday reported 65 more Alaskans have died of COVID. While some of the deaths came from death certificate reviews going back as far as April, most of them happened in the past few months during the surge of the highly contagious delta variant, said the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services. 

The deaths reported Tuesday occurred in nearly all regions of Alaska. A Fairbanks man in his 20s died, and six Alaskans in their 30s from different parts of the state also died. Twenty-one of the deaths happened in the Mat-Su Borough. There was also a nonresident in her 70s who died in Valdez. 

With Tuesday’s report, the total number of Alaskans who died of COVID in September totaled 120. November 2020 is now the second deadliest month with 94 deaths. 

The state counts a death as tied to COVID-19 when a physician lists COVID as a cause of death on the person’s death certificate.

COVID-related hospitalizations also rose slightly since the state’s last report on Friday. By Tuesday, 213 people with COVID were hospitalized in the state, and 28 of them were on ventilators. 

The number of daily new cases among Alaskans, meanwhile, dropped over the last few days. The state reported 713 new cases on Friday, 998 on Saturday, 567 on Sunday, and 507 on Monday. 

An average of 11% of COVID tests have come back positive over the past week.

Also, nearly 60% of Alaskans age 12 and up are fully vaccinated, according to state data.

RELATED: Nearly all workers at Providence and Alaska Native health care system are complying with COVID vaccine mandates

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Lex Treinen covers culture, homelessness, politics and corrections for Alaska Public Media. Reach him at ltreinen@alaskapublic.org.

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