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Alaska breaks daily COVID-19 record again with more than 5,000 cases over the last 2 days

State sees an uptick in COVID-19 hospitalizations
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Published: Jan. 14, 2022 at 2:46 PM AKST|Updated: Jan. 14, 2022 at 5:12 PM AKST
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - The state of Alaska reported more than 5,500 additional COVID-19 infections over the last two days, breaking the previous record for the highest number of cases reported in a single day that had last been set on Tuesday.

The Alaska Department of Health and Social Services reported 5,508 COVID-19 cases over the last two days. Of those, 157 were among nonresidents. There were 2,925 total cases reported for Wednesday — which set the new record — and another 2,583 cases reported for Thursday.

State case data shows a 102% increase in COVID-19 cases over the last week compared to the week of Dec. 31 - Jan. 6, and health experts have attributed the rise to the highly transmissible omicron variant of the virus. The state’s COVID-19 variant data hub shows 42 confirmed cases of the omicron variant in Alaska, but the state epidemiologist said that the actual figure is likely much higher.

Hospitalizations due to the virus have also risen as of Friday. The number of people hospitalized in Alaska with COVID-19 had been hovering in the 50s for a few weeks, but as of Friday had risen to 103 people, according to the hospital data dashboard. COVID-19 hospitalizations are a lagging indicator of the virus’ spread, health experts have said.

Alaska hospitals are bracing for potential impacts to services as the highly transmissible omicron variant exacerbates staffing issues. The Alaska State Hospital and Nursing Home Association has said that more health care workers than before are now calling out due to being sick with COVID-19 or being exposed to it.

“The problem is a lot of our staff is getting sick or having an exposure, which means they cant come into work — and if they cant come into work that shrinks our capacity immediately,” said Jared Kosin, president and CEO of the association, on Thursday. “And so even though it’s a smaller number of admissions coming in from COVID, combined with everything else and the shortage that’s happening to our workforce, we are definitely starting to feel the pressure similar to what we saw in delta — not as intense yet, but it can turn into that quickly and that’s what we’re all kind of bracing for.”

The state also reported two additional COVID-19-related deaths on Friday among Alaska residents. According to the state health department, they were both Anchorage residents — a man in his 60s and a woman in her 60s. There have now been 955 Alaska residents who have died with COVID-19, and 32 nonresidents.

Data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows that Alaska’s rate of new cases per capita over the last week is 1,522. Alaska’s rank among other U.S. states for its rate of new COVID-19 cases is 25th.

The state’s vaccine data dashboard shows that just over 61% of eligible Alaskans, plus members of the military and veterans, are now fully vaccinated against COVID-19. Additionally, 68.4% have gotten at least a single vaccine dose, and 23.7% have gotten a booster dose.

According to the state health department, the Juneau region remains the most vaccinated in the state, with 78.2% of eligible people there fully vaccinated. The Matanuska-Susitna Borough remains the least vaccinated major region of the state, at just under 41%.

Due to Martin Luther King Jr. Day being celebrated on Monday, the next case report from the state health department won’t be published until next Wednesday.

Of the 5,508 COVID-19 cases reported by the state on Friday, 5,351 of them were identified among Alaska residents of the following communities:

  • Anchorage: 2,638
  • Fairbanks: 454
  • Eagle River: 249
  • Juneau: 243
  • Greater Wasilla area: 231
  • Kodiak: 188
  • Greater Palmer area: 126
  • Ketchikan: 111
  • Bethel Census Area: 87
  • North Pole: 87
  • Kusilvak Census Area: 85
  • Dutch Harbor: 69
  • Sitka: 64
  • Soldotna: 63
  • Nome Census Area: 61
  • Chugiak: 55
  • Homer: 43
  • Bethel: 41
  • Nome: 39
  • Northwest Arctic Borough: 35
  • Kotzebue: 32
  • Wrangell: 32
  • Kenai: 26
  • Hoonah-Angoon plus Yakutat: 24
  • Houston/Big Lake: 21
  • Bristol Bay plus Lake and Peninsula: 19
  • Unalaska: 17
  • Prince of Wales-Hyder Census Area: 16
  • Seward: 16
  • Dillingham: 14
  • Utqiaġvik: 12
  • Yukon-Koyukuk Census Area: 11
  • North Slope Borough: 10
  • Copper River Census Area: 9
  • Kenai Peninsula Borough South: 9
  • Chevak: 8
  • Girdwood: 8
  • Hooper Bay: 8
  • Kenai Peninsula Borough North: 8
  • Aleutians East Borough: 7
  • Sterling: 7
  • Valdez: 7
  • Craig: 6
  • Dillingham Census Area: 6
  • Kodiak Island Borough: 6
  • Anchor Point: 5
  • Tok: 5
  • Aleutians West Census Area: 4
  • Cordova: 4
  • Petersburg: 4
  • Matanuska-Susitna Borough: 3
  • Willow: 3
  • Denali Borough: 2
  • Haines: 2
  • Healy: 2
  • Metlakatla: 2
  • Southeast Fairbanks Census Area: 2
  • Delta Junction: 1
  • Fairbanks North Star Borough: 1
  • Fritz Creek: 1
  • Nikiski: 1
  • Sutton-Alpine: 1
  • Ketchikan Gateway Borough: 1

Of the 157 additional nonresident COVID-19 cases reported by the state on Friday, 58 of them are in Anchorage, 23 are in Unalaska and 14 are in Prudhoe Bay.

Editor’s note: This article has been updated with additional information.

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