Alaska reported 53 more COVID-19 deaths on Monday, most of them in September, as well as 1,387 new infections recorded over the weekend and a continued decline in hospitalizations.
The new COVID-19 cases reported over the weekend follow a trend of declining cases seen in Alaska recently after several weeks of daily COVID-19 numbers, a state health official said.
The state reported 445 new cases on Saturday, 641 on Sunday and 301 on Monday.
Last week, Alaska health officials said the state was finally seeing a drop in daily cases after weeks of plateau. While the COVID-19 numbers reported on weekends tend to be lower, health officials feel a little more comfortable with a smaller number of cases each day saying Alaska is on a declining trend, an epidemiologist with the state said. dr. Louisa Castrodale.
Looking at the cases over the past two weeks, Castrodale said the number of cases is “sneaking down”.
Data from the state’s COVID-19 dashboard appeared to show that most of the newly reported deaths occurred in September.
Deaths from COVID-19 are not always immediately reflected in the state’s virus data. Sometimes they don’t appear until health officials review death certificates, a process that can sometimes take several weeks.
Government agencies rely on death certificates to report COVID-19 deaths. If a doctor determines that a COVID-19 infection contributed to a person’s death, it will be recorded on the death certificate and ultimately counted in the state’s official toll, health officials say.
Of the new deaths reported Monday, 31 occurred in September, five in August, 16 in October and one in November, according to the Ministry of Health and Social Services.
The dead included 35 men and 18 women. Twelve were in their eighties or older, nine in their seventies, ten in their sixties, thirteen in their fifties, four in their forties, four in their thirties, and one person in their twenties.
They lived across the state: 23 from Anchorage, one from the Northwest Arctic Borough, two from the Yukon-Koyukuk Census Area, one from North Pole, six from Fairbanks, four from Wasilla, three from Palmer, one from Big Lake, from Sutton-Alpine, one from Kenai, two from Ketchikan, one from Valdez and one from Unalaska. In addition, state health officials specified that a Northwest Arctic Borough resident and an Anchorage resident died out of state.
The non-resident deaths included two people in Palmer and one in Anchorage.
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September was already the deadliest month of the Alaska pandemic, but the additional 29 resident deaths mean that 162 of Alaska’s 764 residents whose deaths were linked to the disease occurred in September 2021.
Castrodale, said she expects the state will likely have finished reporting most of the COVID-19 deaths by September, but more will likely be reported for the month of October.
“I suspect we’ll have a few more October deaths,” she said.
In addition, three more non-resident deaths were reported Monday, meaning a total of 30 non-residents have died from the virus since the start of the Alaskan pandemic. Two of those deaths occurred in September and one in August.
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The proportion of COVID-19 testing that yielded positive results was 7.6% on a seven-day moving average on Monday, down from a peak of 10.9% in mid-October.
In an emailed statement on Monday, Dr. Michael Savitt, chief medical officer at Anchorage’s health department, said the department is “cautiously optimistic” about recent declining COVID-19 trends for the city, but that Anchorage is still in a “risky environment.”
“Hospitals remain at near capacity levels,” Savitt wrote. “We hope those numbers will decrease soon as well.”
Since July, a wave of COVID-19, fueled by the highly contagious delta variant, has led to a surge in hospitalizations and deaths around Alaska and has pushed the state’s health care system to a breaking point.
As of Monday, 128 people were hospitalized with COVID-19, state dashboard data shows, with about 13.6% of hospitalized patients considered active cases of the virus. That’s a drop from recent weeks, when often one in five patients had a case of the virus.
Correction: An earlier version of this story contained an incorrect breakdown of new deaths by month.