COVID-19 follow-up in Alaska: 1 death and 378 new cases reported on Saturday

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The death reported on Saturday involved a resident of Fairbanks, state data showed.

The number of people hospitalized with the virus has declined slightly from Friday to Saturday 82 to 79 people sick enough to require care statewide. Five other people hospitalized were awaiting test results.

A total of 223 Alaskans and one non-resident with COVID-19 have died since the pandemic hit the state in March. Alaska’s per capita death rate is among the lowest in the country, although the size of the state and vulnerable health care system complicate national comparisons.

Alaska recently began adding probable deaths of people with the virus as determined by medical providers in addition to those established by a lab result.

The state’s daily number of cases in recent weeks has dropped precipitously from a wave that lasted through November and early December. But health officials continue to worry about a peak after the holidays in the new cases and note that the state’s alert level is still high.

The state continues its early deployment of the COVID-19 vaccine, but most Alaskans will not be eligible for many months.

Vaccine appointments are made at or by calling 907-646-3322, leaving a message and awaiting a callback from an operator.

Of the 370 new infections reported among Alaskan residents on Saturday, there were 119 new cases in Anchorage, plus 14 in Eagle River, eight in Chugiak and one in Girdwood; 51 in Fairbanks; 39 in Wasilla; 14 in Palmer; 13 at the North Pole; 11 in Kenai; nine in Soldotna; eight at Bethel; five at Kodiak; three in Seward; three in Utqiagvik; three in Ketchikan; two in Unalaska; two in Hooper Bay; one in pounds sterling; one in Cordoba; one in Houston; one in Nome; one in Sitka; one in Nikiski; one at Anchor Point; one at Homer’s; and one in Dillingham.

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Of the communities of less than 1,000 people not named for privacy, there were 15 in the Arctic Northwest Borough; 11 in the Kusilvak census area; eight in the borough of Fairbanks North Star; eight in the Bethel census area; five in the North Slope borough; two in the Matanuska-Susitna district; one in the north of the Kenai Peninsula; one in the Copper River area; one in the southeast Fairbanks census region; one in the Yukon-Koyukuk census region; one in the census area of ​​Nome; one in the combined region of Yakutat and Hoonah-Angoon; and one in the Dillingham census area.

There were eight cases among non-residents reported on Saturday: one in Bethel and seven in locations still under investigation.

While people can be tested more than once, each case reported by the state’s health department represents only one person.

State data does not specify whether people who test positive for COVID-19 have symptoms. More than half of the country’s infections are transmitted by asymptomatic people, according to CDC estimates.

The statewide test positivity rate on Saturday was 4.66% over a seven-day average. Health officials say anything over 5% can indicate inadequate testing and widespread community transmission. The condition peaked at over 9% positivity in November.

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