Updated COVID-19 tracking graphics will be added to this article today.
Alaska reported one more death and 204 new COVID-19 cases on Saturday, according to the Department of Health and Social Services COVID-19 dashboard.
The surge in cases parallels rising virus case numbers in several parts of the Lower 48. Alaska’s daily reported cases have hit triple digits for 24 straight days.
The death reported Saturday involved an Anchorage resident, according to state data, and it wasn’t immediately clear when the death occurred. In total, 67 Alaskans with COVID-19 have died since the pandemic began here in March. The state’s per capita death rate remains among the lowest in the country.
Statewide as of Saturday, 50 people were hospitalized with COVID-19 while 18 other hospital patients were awaiting test results, according to state data.
Of the new cases, it wasn’t clear how many patients were showing symptoms of the virus when they tested positive. While people might get tested more than once, each case reported by the state health department only represents one person.
Over the past week, Anchorage saw a 40% increase in new cases, Dr. Janet Johnston, epidemiologist with the Anchorage Health Department, said at a Friday briefing. It was the first week that Anchorage averaged above 100 new cases per day, with 102.2 new cases a day on average.
Given estimates that only one in 10 people with COVID-19 are actually identified as being infected, Johnston said it’s possible as many as 8,500 people in Anchorage are infectious with the virus.
Statewide Saturday, several regions of the state had tilted into the high alert zone, with more than 10 cases per 100,000 people reported over the last two weeks. The high alert level indicates there is widespread community transmission of the virus and many undetected cases as well as frequent outbreaks, according to the state health department.
Some places, like Anchorage, Northwest Alaska and the Fairbanks North Star Borough, reported triple that threshold, with averages in the low 30s. Other regions, like the Matanuska-Susitna Borough and the Kenai Peninsula Borough, newly entered the red zone on Saturday, with a little over 10 cases per 100,000.
Only three regions on the state’s alert level map were not in the red zone as of Saturday, including the Southwest region and much of Southeast Alaska outside of the City and Borough of Juneau.
Of the 201 new cases of COVID-19 involving residents, 90 were in Anchorage; three were in Chugiak; 10 were in Eagle River; one was in Girdwood; one was in Homer; one was in Kenai; four were in Soldotna; two were in Sterling; one was in Kodiak; two were in Healy; 15 were in Fairbanks; four were in North Pole; five were in Delta Junction; two were in Tok; five were in Palmer; 15 were in Wasilla; three were in Willow; five were in Utqiagvik; 12 were in Juneau; two were in Ketchikan; three were in Petersburg; one was in Craig; one was in Unalaska; three were in Bethel; and two were in Chevak.
Among communities smaller than 1,000 not identified to protect confidentiality, there was one in the northern Kenai Peninsula; one in the Fairbanks North Star Borough; two in the Yukon-Koyukuk Census Area; one in the Nome Census Area; and three in the Bethel Census Area.
Of the three nonresident cases, two were in Anchorage and one was in Wasilla.
The state’s testing positivity rate as of Saturday was 4.94% over a seven-day rolling average.
Source Website Tracking COVID-19 in Alaska: 1 death, 204 new cases reported Saturday