Alaska shatters single-day COVID record with more than 6,000 cases over the last 2 days

Published: Jan. 21, 2022 at 2:02 PM AKST|Updated: Jan. 21, 2022 at 4:01 PM AKST
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - Alaska has once again shattered its previous record for the highest number of COVID-19 cases reported in a single day, with the state health department reporting more than 6,500 additional infections over the last two days.

The Alaska Department of Health and Social Services reported 6,532 new COVID-19 cases on Friday. Of those, there were 201 nonresident cases. The state reported 3,283 new cases among Alaska residents for Wednesday, and 3,048 resident cases for Thursday, blowing past the previous record for the most cases reported in a single day, which was 2,925 reported last Wednesday.

The record breaking cases in the state continue as the highly transmissible omicron variant surge sustains. State case data shows at 26% increase in new cases over the last week compared to the week before, and cases are considerably higher than they were in mid-December.

Alaska has also risen back up the national rankings in terms of the rate of new cases per capita over the last week. Previously hovering in the mid-20s, Alaska is now eighth in the nation for its rate of new COVID-19 cases over the past seven days, which according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is 2,088 cases per 100,000 people. Wisconsin is first in the country with a case rate of 2,805.

The number of people hospitalized with the virus in Alaska also rose again on Friday, up to 134 compared to 116 COVID-19-related hospitalizations on Wednesday. Of all people currently hospitalized in Alaska, state data shows 11.5% of them are being hospitalized with COVID-19.

COVID-19 hospitalizations and deaths are two of the most lagging indicators of the virus’ spread. Alaska’s COVID-19 hospitalizations had been hovering in the 50s in early January, but have since risen as the omicron variant has continued to spread across the state. While the current number of 134 is still much lower than the record high number of close to 250 hospitalizations in Alaska during the delta variant surge, it’s complicated by the fact that many more health care workers are now calling out than before due to being sick with COVID-19 or exposed.

The state did not report any additional deaths related to COVID-19 on Friday, following a large report of more than 60 deaths on Wednesday. Since the pandemic began here in March 2020, the state has recorded a total of 1,018 Alaska resident deaths and 33 nonresident deaths that have been related to the virus.

Though the state has officially recorded 184 confirmed cases of the omicron variant in Alaska, health experts have said the true number is likely higher due to the amount of time it takes to sequence COVID-19 case samples.

According to the state’s vaccine monitoring dashboard, 61.4% of all eligible Alaska residents plus military members are now fully vaccinated against COVID-19, while 68.7% have gotten at least an initial vaccine dose. Data also shows 24.5% have gotten a booster shot.

Of the 6,532 additional COVID-19 cases the state reported over the last two days, 6,321 of them were identified among Alaska residents of the following communities:

  • Anchorage: 2,552
  • Fairbanks: 532
  • Greater Wasilla area: 510
  • Eagle River: 345
  • Kodiak: 209
  • Juneau: 205
  • Greater Palmer area: 201
  • Utqiaġvik: 124
  • Nome Census Area: 115
  • North Pole: 111
  • Bethel Census Area: 101
  • Kusilvak Census Area: 97
  • Nome: 95
  • Kenai: 93
  • Soldotna: 93
  • Ketchikan: 91
  • Chugiak: 77
  • Homer: 65
  • Sitka: 65
  • Northwest Arctic Borough: 52
  • Bethel: 48
  • Kotzebue: 45
  • Hooper Bay: 41
  • Valdez: 40
  • Dutch Harbor: 36
  • Yukon-Koyukuk Census Area: 30
  • Houston/Big Lake: 27
  • Wrangell: 23
  • Dillingham: 20
  • Kenai Peninsula Borough South: 20
  • Seward: 19
  • Metlakatla: 18
  • Aleutians East Borough: 17
  • North Slope Borough: 17
  • Anchor Point: 16
  • Copper River Census Area: 13
  • Delta Junction: 13
  • Bristol Bay plus Lake and Peninsula: 11
  • Nikiski: 11
  • Unalaska: 11
  • Petersburg: 10
  • Haines: 9
  • Hoonah-Angoon plus Yakutat: 8
  • Sutton-Alpine: 7
  • Cordova: 6
  • Craig: 6
  • Girdwood: 6
  • Kenai Peninsula Borough North: 6
  • Sterling: 6
  • Willow: 6
  • Chevak: 5
  • Denali Borough: 5
  • Fairbanks North Star Borough: 3
  • Prince of Wales-Hyder Census Area: 3
  • Aleutians West Census Area: 2
  • Healy: 2
  • Dillingham Census Area: 1
  • Ester: 1
  • Fritz Creek: 1
  • Skagway: 1
  • Unknown location: 1

Of the 201 additional nonresident COVID-19 cases reported for the last two days, 59 are seafood industry workers in Unalaska, 39 are in Anchorage and 14 are in Fairbanks.

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

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